Animal models play a crucial role in fundamental and medical research. Progress in the fields of drug discovery, regenerative medicine and cancer research among others are heavily dependent on in vivo models to validate in vitro observations, and develop new therapeutic approaches. However, conventional rodent and large animal experiments face ethical, practical and technical issues that limit their usage. The chick embryo represents an accessible and economical in vivo model, which has long been used in developmental biology, gene expression analysis and loss/ gain of function experiments. It is also an established model for tissue/ cell transplantation, and because of its lack of immune system in early development, the chick embryo is increasingly recognised as a model of choice for mammalian biology with new applications for stem cell and cancer research. Here, we review novel applications of the chick embryo model, and discuss future developments of this in vivo model for biomedical research. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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