Analysis of germ line development in the chick embryo using an antimouse EC cell antibody

L. E. Urven, C. A. Erickson, U. K. Abbott, J. R. McCarrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


We have found that EMA-1, a monoclonal antibody originally raised against mouse embryonal carcinoma (Nulli SCC1) cells (Hahnel & Eddy, 1982), also labels chick primordial germ cells (PGCs). We have used this antibody in immunohistochemical studies to follow the development of PGCs in the chick embryo from the time of their initial appearance beneath the epiblast, through their migratory phase and subsequent colonization of the germinal epithelium. During hypoblast formation, individual EMA-1-labelled cells appeared to separate from the basal surface of the epiblast and enter the blastocoel, coincident with the appearance of morphologically identifiable PGCs in this same area. EMA-1 continued to label germ cells until the initiation of gametogenesis in each sex; specifically, labelling was absent by 7-8 days of incubation in females and started to decrease at 11 days of incubation in males. There was a recurrence of the epitope on oogonia at 15 days of incubation, but not on spermatogonia during the remainder of development through hatching. These observations are consistent with an epiblast origin for the avian germ line, and are strikingly similar to those reported for the early mouse embryo using the same antibody (Hahnel & Eddy, 1986).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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