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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2000 Feb;10(1):146-52.

The broken mouse: the role of development, plasticity and environment in the interpretation of phenotypic changes in knockout mice.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. jag46@columbia.edu


With the advent of gene knockout technology has arisen the problem of how to interpret the resulting phenotypic changes in mice lacking specific genes. This problem is especially relevant when applied to behavioral phenotypes of knockout mice, which are difficult to interpret. Of particular interest are the roles of development and compensatory changes, as well as other factors, such as the influence of the gene knockout on nearby genes, the effect of the genetic background strain, maternal behavioral influences, and pleiotrophy.

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