The chick eye in vision research: An excellent model for the study of ocular disease

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Abstract

The domestic chicken, Gallus gallus, serves as an excellent model for the study of a wide range of ocular diseases and conditions. The purpose of this manuscript is to outline some anatomic, physiologic, and genetic features of this organism as a robust animal model for vision research, particularly for modeling human retinal disease. Advantages include a sequenced genome, a large eye, relative ease of handling and maintenance, and ready availability. Relevant similarities and differences to humans are highlighted for ocular structures as well as for general physiologic processes. Current research applications for various ocular diseases and conditions, including ocular imaging with spectral domain optical coherence tomography, are discussed. Several genetic and non-genetic ocular disease models are outlined, including for pathologic myopia, keratoconus, glaucoma, retinal detachment, retinal degeneration, ocular albinism, and ocular tumors. Finally, the use of stem cell technology to study the repair of damaged tissues in the chick eye is discussed. Overall, the chick model provides opportunities for high-throughput translational studies to more effectively prevent or treat blinding ocular diseases.

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