Feather Development in Chicken Embryo

Shruti Luhach, Tennessee State University


Feathers have complex structure and are a fantastic model to study the advancement and development of morphologies. Existing chicken feather mutants are specifically valuable for recognizing hereditary determinants of feather development. Vertebrate skin extremities are made up of keratins created by multigene families. Alpha (α) keratins are found in all vertebrates, while beta (β) keratins are found in reptiles and winged creatures. Previous studies showed that riboflavin deficient chicken embryos exhibit delayed feather development, lower hepatic feather keratin (FKER) expression in comparison to riboflavin sufficient embryos. FKER is one of the main component in the feather. Interestingly, FKER mRNA expression was found in the liver at 9-15 days of chicken embryo development. It is not clear whether FKER is also expressed in the skin and how it is regulated. Thus, this study was designed to examine FKER expression in the skin during 8-14 days of embryonic development when chicken embryonic feather emerges, and to explore the potential regulatory mechanism of FKER during this period. Chicken embryos were sacrificed at 8 days, 10 days, 12 days and 14 days onset of incubation, then, skin and liver samples were collected immediately from these embryos. At 12 days onset of incubation, the embryonic feather is well developed, clearly visible, while no sign of feather was visible at 8 days onset of incubation. An RT- q PCR assay indicated that FKER Mrna was expressed in the skin during this period, with a trend of increase from day 8 to day 12. Since the FKER Mrna expression is outrageously downregulated in riboflavin deficient embryos, and cryptochromes are transcription factors requiring riboflavin as a cofactor, we hypothesized that these proteins are involved in FKER transcription. Thus, the mRNA levels of CRY1, Cry2, and CRY3 were assayed using RT- q PCR in the samples. Results of this study clearly showed that Therefore, we looked for the RNA expression in the embryonic skin and liver. Results showed that CRY3 mRNA is expressed in both liver and skin during this period, and the RT- qPCR suggest that CRY1 and CRY2 were also expressed in these tissues during this examined embryonic stage.^

Subject Area

Biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Shruti Luhach, "Feather Development in Chicken Embryo" (2017). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10641453.