Busulfan (1,4-butanediol dimethanesulfonate) was used to deplete endogenous germ cells for the enhanced production of chicken germline chimeras. Utilizing immunohistochemical identification of primordial gem cells (PGCs) in Stage 27 chicken embryos, two delivery formulations were compared relative to the degree of endogenous PGC depletion, a busulfan suspension (BS) and a solublized busulfan emulsion (SBE). Both busulfan treatments resulted in a significant reduction in PGCs when compared to controls. However, the SBE resulted in a more consistent and extensive depletion of PGCs than that observed with the BS treatment. Repopulation of SBE-treated embryos with exogenous PGCs resulted in a threefold increase of PGCs in Stage 27 embryos. Subsequently, germline chimeras were produced by the transfer of male gonadal PGCs from Barred Plymouth Rock embryos into untreated and SBE-treated White Leghorn embryos. Progeny testing of the presumptive chimeras with adult Barred Plymouth Rock chickens was performed to evaluate the efficiency of germline chimera production. The frequency of germline chimerism in SBE-treated recipients increased fivefold when compared to untreated recipients. The number of donor-derived offspring from the germline chimeras also increased eightfold following SBE-treatment of the recipient embryos. These results demonstrated that the administration of a busulfan emulsion into the egg yolk of unincubated eggs improved the depletion of endogenous PGCs in the embryo and enhanced the efficiency of germline chimera production.
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