Egg formation and embryonic development occur as the yolk passes through the magnum, isthmus, and shell gland of the oviduct before oviposition in hens. The present study identified candidate genes associated with secretory function of the chicken oviduct after ovulation and contributing to egg formation and oviposition. Hens (n = 5 per time point) were euthanized to recover the reproductive tract when the egg was in the magnum (3 h after ovulation) and the shell gland (20 h after ovulation). Total RNA was extracted from each segment of the oviducts and subjected to Affymetrix chicken GeneChip analysis. Quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization analyses of selected genes confirmed the validity of the gene expression patterns detected using microarray analysis. In particular, ACP1, CALB1, CYP26A1, PENK, RCAN1 and SPP1 expression increased significantly in the shell gland between 3 h and 20 h postovulation, whereas only RCNA1 expression increased significantly in the magnum between 3 h and 20 h postovulation. Results of the high-throughput analysis revealed cell-specific and temporal changes in gene expression in the oviduct at 3 h and 20 h postovulation in laying hens provide novel insight into changes at the molecular and cellular levels of candidate genes related to formation of the egg and oviposition.
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Vol. 86 • No. 6