Generation of chickens expressing Cre recombinase.

Cre recombinase has been extensively used for genome engineering in transgenic mice yet its use in other species has been more limited. Here we describe the generation of transgenic chickens expressing Cre recombinase. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)- positive chicken primordial germ cells were stably transfected with b-actin-Cre-recombinase using phiC31 integrase and transgenic chickens were generated. Cre recombinase activity was verified by mating Cre birds to birds carrying a floxed transgene. Floxed sequences were only excised in offspring from roosters that inherited the Cre recombinase but were excised in all offspring from hens carrying the Cre recombinase irrespective of the presence of the Cre transgene. The Cre recombinase transgenic birds were healthy and reproductively normal. The Cre and GFP genes in two of the lines were closely linked whereas the genes segregated independently in a third line. These founders allowed development of GFP-expressing.

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