The objective of this study was to compare developmental capacity of rabbit chimeric embryos and the allocation of the EGFP gene expression to the embryoblast (ICM) or embryonic shield. We produced chimeric embryos (TR<>N) by synchronous transfer of two or three blastomeres at the 16-cell stage from transgenic (TR) into normal host embryos (N) at the same stage. In the control group, two to three non-transgenic blastomeres were used to produce chimeric embryos. The TR embryos were produced by microinjection of EGFP into both pronuclei of fertilized rabbit eggs. The developmental rate and allocation of EGFP-positive cells of the reconstructed chimeric embryos was controlled at blastocyst (96 h PC) and embryonic shield (day 6) stage.
All chimeric embryos (120/120, 100%) developed up to blastocyst stage. Using fluorescent microscope, we detected green signal (EGFP expression). In 90 chimeric (TR<>N) embryos (75%). Average total number of cells in chimeric embryos at blastocyst stage was 175 ± 13.10, of which 58 ± 2.76 cells were found in the ICM area. The number of EGFP-positive cells in the ICM area was 24 ± 5.02 (35%). After the transfer of 50 chimeric rabbit embryos at the 16-cell stage, 20 embryos (40%) were flushed from five recipients on day 6 of pregnancy, of which five embryos (25%) were EGFP positive at the embryonic shield stage.
Our results demonstrate that transgenic blastomeres in synchronous chimeric embryos reconstructed from TR embryos have an ability to develop and colonize ICM and embryonic shield area.