Impact of broiler egg storage on the relative expression of selected blastoderm genes associated with apoptosis, oxidative stress, and fatty acid metabolism

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Abstract

Cool temperature storage of eggs prior to incubation is a frequent practice by commercial broiler hatcheries. However, continued storage beyond 7 d leads to a progressive increase in the rate of early embryonic mortality. In this study, we examined the relative expression of 31 genes associated with fatty acid metabolism (8), apoptosis (7), and oxidative stress (16) pathways to better understand the basis of embryo mortality during egg storage. A total of 642 broiler eggs in 2 separate trials were subjected to the following egg treatments: stored 4 d (Control 1, C1); stored 21 d but subjected to short periods of incubation during egg storage (SPIDES); stored un-manipulated 21 d (NonSPIDES, NS); and stored 4 d then incubated for 10 h to advance the embryos to the same developmental stages as the SPIDES embryos (Control 2, C2). Hatchability trials (277 eggs) confirmed the efficacy of SPIDES compared to NS treatments in both trials. To determine relative expression of 31 selected genes, 365 blastoderms were isolated, staged, and flash frozen in batches of 5 to 10 blastoderms per vial (7 vials per egg treatment) prior to RNA extractions. Analysis of gene expression was performed using qRT-PCR and the results presented as relative expression normalized to C1. The relative expression of genes in which the SPIDES and C2 treatments were significantly up- or down-regulated in tandem indicated that the stage-specific expression of those genes was maintained by the SPIDES treatment. This study provides the relative gene expressions of blastodermal cells before and after prolonged egg storage as well as insight as to how SPIDES impacts blastodermal cell gene expression.

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