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Annu Rev Genet. 2002;36:153-73. Epub 2002 Jun 11.

Studying gene function in eukaryotes by conditional gene inactivation.

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Max Delbrück Centrum, Robert-Rössle-Strasse 10, D-13125 Berlin, Germany.


The prospect of specifically controlling gene activities in vivo has become a defining hallmark of many model organisms of biological research. Where once the aim was to gain control over gene activities using endogenous control elements, new technologies have emerged that owe their remarkable specificity to heterologous components derived from evolutionarily distant species. This review highlights inducible transcriptional systems and site-specific recombination. Their quantitative and qualitative characteristics are discussed, with examples of how recent developments have expanded the spectrum of cells and organisms that are now accessible to genetic dissection of unprecedented precision. Transgenesis has already converted the mouse into a prime model for mammalian genetics. Combined with the new approaches of conditional activation or inactivation of genes, this model has opened up new horizons for the analysis of gene function in mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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