Sara Yousefi Taemeh research group

Avian Developmental Genetics and Transgenesis

Chickens play a crucial role in both global food security and scientific advancement. They are a primary source of protein through eggs and meat, and serve as valuable research models in developmental biology, genetics, and diseases affecting both birds and humans. The chick embryo has been used extensively as a model for vertebrate development due to several advantages: the embryo's external development within the egg, the ability to get large numbers of fertilized eggs at the same developmental stage, and the low cost. Because of these benefits, chicken eggs are increasingly used in biotechnology to produce pharmaceutical complex proteins in a cost-effective way, such as proteins with complex structures similar to those in humans (e.g., recombinant pharmaceuticals with human-like glycosylation patterns).

Despite the significant scientific strides made using avian models, manipulating avian genomes—a necessity in many research fields—remains challenging, costly, and time-consuming. To address the limitations in avian genome manipulation, we are developing genetically engineered cell- and chicken lines that facilitate versatile and cost-effective manipulation of gene expression in chickens, making them an even more powerful avian model system. Furthermore, my lab is interested in improving our basic understanding of the genetic networks involved in ovary development and meiosis initiation in chickens. To achieve this, we utilize genome engineering to study sex-specific patterns of primordial germ cell (PGC) development using both in vitro and in vivo systems.