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Methods Mol Biol. 2008;435:127-38. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-232-8_9.

Conditional gene trapping using the FLEx system.

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  • 1Institute of Developmental Genetics, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany.


The knowledge about the complete genome sequences of mouse, human, and other organisms is only the first step toward the functional annotation of all genes. It facilitates the recognition of sequence conservation, which helps to distinguish between important and not important and also coding from noncoding sequence. Nevertheless, approximately only 50% of all mouse genes have been entirely annotated to date. In the postgenomic era, large-scale projects have been initiated to describe also the expression (Emap, Eurexpress) and the function (International Gene Trap Consortium, Eucomm, Norcomm, Komp) of all mouse genes. By building up on these resources, the average amount of time starting from a gene-coding sequence to finally studying its function in a living organism or embryo, has shortened significantly within the last decade. Several recent developments, namely, in bioinformatics and gene synthesis but also in targeted and random mutagenesis have contributed to the current status. This chapter will highlight the milestones that have been undertaken in order to saturate the mouse genome with gene trap mutations. We have no intention to cover the entire field but will instead focus on most recent vectors and protocols, which have turned out to be most useful in order to promote the technology. Therefore, we apologize upfront to the many studies that could not be mentioned here solely owing to space limitations but which nevertheless made significant contributions to our current understanding. This chapter will finally provide guidance on possible uses of conditional gene trap alleles as well as detailed protocols for the application of this recent technology.

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