Germ cells are the only cell type that can penetrate from one generation to next generation. At the early embryonic developmental stages, germ cells originally stem from primordial germ cells, and finally differentiate into functional gametes, sperm in male or oocyte in female, after sexual maturity. This study was conducted to investigate a large-scale expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis in chicken PGCs and compare the expression of the PGC ESTs with that of embryonic gonad. We constructed 10,851 ESTs from a chicken cDNA library of a collection of highly separated embryonic PGCs. After chimeric and problematic sequences were filtered out using the chicken genomic sequences, there were 5,093 resulting unique sequences consisting of 156 contigs and 4,937 singlets. Pearson chi-square tests of gene ontology terms in the 2nd level between PGC and embryonic gonad set showed no significance. However, digital gene expression profiling using the Audic's test showed that there were 2 genes expressed significantly with higher number of transcripts in PGCs compared with the embryonic gonads set. On the other hand, 17 genes in embryonic gonads were up-regulated higher than those in the PGC set. Our results in this study contribute to knowledge of mining novel transcripts and genes involved in germline cell proliferation and differentiation at the early embryonic stages.
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