• avian;
  • germ cells;
  • transgenesis;
  • bioreactor;
  • biomodel

Animal-based biotechnologies involve the use of domestic animals for the production of pharmaceuticals and various proteins in milk and eggs, as disease models, as tools for stem cell research and animal cloning, and as sources of organs for xenotransplantation into humans. Avian species offer several advantages over mammalian models, and they have been used historically to advance the fields of embryology, immunology, oncology, virology, and vaccine development. In addition, avian species can be used for studying the etiology of human ovarian cancer and other human diseases such as disorders based on the abnormal metabolism of lipids and as unique mechanisms for the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol. This review integrates recent progress and insight into the molecular and physiologic mechanisms associated with transgenic birds and gives an overview of the use of avian models as pharmaceutical bioreactors and as tools for studying human diseases.