Attempts to enhance production of porcine chimeras from embryonic germ cells and preimplantation embryos

Rong Rui, Hosup Shim, Alice L. Moyer, Dianne L. Anderson, Cecilia Penedo, Joan D Rowe, Robert Bondurant, Gary B. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Porcine embryonic germ (EG) cells share common features with porcine embryonic stem (ES) cells, including morphology, alkaline phosphatase activity and capacity for in vitro differentiation. Porcine EG cells are also capable of in vivo development by producing chimeras after blastocyst injection; however, the proportion of injected embryos that yield a chimera and the proportion of cells contributed by the cultured cells in each chimera are too low for practical use in genetic manipulation. Moreover, somatic, but not germ-line chimerism, has been reported from blastocyst injection using porcine ES or EG cells. To test whether efficiency of chimera production from blastocyst injection can be improved upon by changing the host embryo, we used as host embryos four groups according to developmental stage or length in culture: fresh 4-cell and 8-cell stage embryos subsequently cultured into blastocysts, fresh morulae, fresh blastocysts, and cultured blastocysts. Injection and embryo transfer of fresh and cultured blastocysts produced similar percentages of live piglets (17% versus 19%). Four piglets were judged to have a small degree of pigmentation chimerism, but microsatellite analysis failed to confirm chimerism in these or other piglets. Polymerase chain reaction analysis for detection of the porcine SRY gene in female piglets born from embryos injected with male EG cells identified six chimeras, at least one, but not more than two, from each treatment. Chimerism was confirmed in two putative pigmentation chimeras and in four piglets without overt signs of chimerism. The low percentage of injected embryos that yielded a chimera and the small contribution by EG cells to development of each confirmed chimera indicated that procedural changes in how EG cells were combined with host embryos were unsuccessful in increasing the likelihood that porcine EG cells will participate in embryonic development. Alternatively, our results suggested that improvements are needed in EG cell isolation and culture procedures to ensure in vitro maintenance of EG cell developmental capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1235
Number of pages11
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Chimera
  • Embryonic germ cells
  • In vitro culture
  • Porcine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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