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Trends Genet. 2004 Jun;20(6):252-9.

Checks and balancers: balancer chromosomes to facilitate genome annotation.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Erratum in

  • Trends Genet. 2005 Jan;21(1):36.


Phenotype-driven mutagenesis screens are used to discover gene function in model organisms. Mutations that are induced by chemical mutagens can occur anywhere in the genome. However, the use of a balancer chromosome (where a phenotypically marked segment of a chromosome is inverted) in a mutagenesis screen enables mutations to be mapped in a defined region of the genome and maintained stably in a heterozygous state. Mouse balancer chromosomes can be engineered using Cre-loxP technology in selected regions of the genome. Balancer mutagenesis screens will provide a systematic functional analysis of the genes on mouse chromosomes, and consequently, will facilitate a functional annotation of the mammalian genome sequence.

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