Temporal embryonic transcription of chicken fast skeletal myosin heavy chain isoforms in the single comb white leghorn

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There are numerous factors that can significantly influence embryonic development in poultry and thus make simple days of incubation (chronological age) a less than perfect metric for studying embryonic physiology. The developmental fast skeletal muscle myosin (MyHC), the predominant protein in the Pectoralis major (PM), is temporally expressed as a cadre of highly specific developmental isoforms. In the study described herein, a novel molecular technology (NanoString) was used to characterize the myosin isoform transcriptional patterns in the PM of Single Comb White Leghorn (SCWL) embryos. NanoString technology is based on quantitative analysis of the transcriptome through digital detection and quantification of target mRNA transcripts. Total RNA was isolated and gene transcription quantified using NanoString in embryonic muscle samples collected daily from 6 through 19 days of incubation. Data were analyzed using the LOESS smoothing function at a 95% confidence level. The temporal transcription of MyHC isoforms obtained in this study was consistent with the literature at higher specificity and resolution, thus validating NanoString for use in gene transcription analyses. The results support a hypothesis that the transcription patterns of the embryonic MyHC isoforms may be used as molecular clocks to further investigate the developmental relationships underlying embryonic fast skeletal muscle growth and development.

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