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Nucleic Acids Res. 2004 Aug 13;32(14):e117.

Mos as a tool for genome-wide insertional mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans: results of a pilot study.

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CGMC, CNRS-UMR 5534, Université Lyon1, 43 bld du 11 Novembre, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France.


The sequence of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome contains approximately 19 000 genes. Available mutants currently exist for <20% of these genes. The existence of a Mos-based inducible transposon system in C.elegans could theoretically serve as a tool to saturate the genome with insertions. We report here the results of a pilot study aimed at assaying this strategy. We generated 914 independent random Mos insertions and determined their location by inverse PCR. The distribution of the insertions throughout the genome does not reveal any gross distortion, with the exception of a major hotspot on chromosome I (rDNA locus). Transposons are evenly distributed between the genic and intergenic regions. Within genes, transposons insert preferentially into the introns. We derived the consensus target site for Mos in C.elegans (ATATAT), which is common to Tc1, another mariner element. Finally, we assayed the mutagenic properties of insertions located in exons by comparing the phenotype of homozygous strains to that of known mutations or RNAi of the same gene. This pilot experiment shows that a Mos-based approach is a viable strategy that can contribute to the constitution of genome-wide collections of identified C.elegans mutants.

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