GenOvotox II - Development and evaluation of a sensitive and cost-effective animal replacement system for the assessment of the hormone-toxic potential of chemicals as disrupters of the embryonic gonad development

There is growing public concern about the increasing occurrence of manmade substances with hormone like activity - so called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The identification of a given chemical as an EDC is routinely based on experiments with (sub-)adult mice or rats. The project GenOvotox aims to develop a replacement method for such tests using the chicken embryo. Both, responses on the structural (anatomical and histological alterations) and molecular level are used to identify specific effects of EDCs in very early embryonic development. These responses are evaluated for their suitability to be used in the future on a routine basis for the identification of EDCs in a regulatory context.

The work programme of GenOvotox II, a joint project between the company GenXPro GmbH and our department, comprises the establishment, validation and commercialisation of a molecular screening tool by:

  • using SuperSAGE (Matsumura et al. 2003, 2005, 2006) for mRNA analysis and genome-wide quantification of gene activity in early developmental stages of the chicken embryo,
  • achieving a dose-effect relationship of endocrine disruptors on a structural and molecular level,
  • getting justifiable replacement, reduction and refinement of animal testing methods (Russel & Burch 1959) in the context of REACh.


  • Matsumura H et al. (2003): PNAS 100 (26): 15718-15723.
  • Matsumura H et al. (2005): Cellular Microbiology 7 (1): 11-18.
  • Matsumura H et al. (2006): Nature Methods 3: 469-474.
  • Russel WMS & Burch RL (1959): The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. ISBN 0 900767 78 2.

Project partners:

Coordinator:Dr. Peter Winter
GenXPro GmbH
Altenhöferallee 3
60438 Frankfurt am Main
phone: ++49-69 95739710
fax: ++49-69 95739706 e-mail: pwinter(at)
Principle investigator:
Dr. Björn Rotter (rotter(at)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Oehlmann
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt
Department Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Max-von-Laue-Str. 13
D-60438 Frankfurt am Main
phone ++ 49-69 79842142
fax ++ 49-69 79876342142
e-mail: oehlmann(at)
Principle investigator:
Jessica Scheider (j.scheider(at)

Funded by

Federal Ministry of Education and Research