Gene - Gene Targeting and Implications

Gene Targeting and Implications

Gene targeting is commonly referred to techniques for altering or disrupting mouse genes and provides the mouse models for studying the roles of individual genes in embryonic development, human disorders, aging and diseases. The mouse models, where one or more of its genes are deactivated or made inoperable, are called knockout mice. Since the first reports in which homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells was used to generate gene-targeted mice, gene targeting has proven to be a powerful means of precisely manipulating the mammalian genome, producing at least ten thousand mutant mouse strains and it is now possible to introduce mutations that can be activated at specific time points, or in specific cells or organs, both during development and in the adult animal.

Gene targeting strategies have been expanded to all kinds of modifications, including point mutations, isoform deletions, mutant allele correction, large pieces of chromosomal DNA insertion and deletion, tissue specific disruption combined with spatial and temporal regulation and so on. It is predicted that the ability to generate mouse models with predictable phenotypes will have a major impact on studies of all phases of development, immunology, neurobiology, oncology, physiology, metabolism, and human diseases. Gene targeting is also in theory applicable to species from which totipotent embryonic stem cells can be established, and therefore may offer a potential to the improvement of domestic animals and plants.

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