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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Feb;16(2):313-21. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

Xenopus: a prince among models for pronephric kidney development.

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Molecular Physiology, Department of Biological Sciences, Warwick University, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.


Recent advances in techniques that are available to study the molecular development of the frog Xenopus make developmental studies using this amphibian amenable to experimentation. This review outlines some of the attractive features of this model organism and describes how these techniques can be and are being used in studies on the organogenesis of the larval amphibian kidney, the pronephros. The roles of micromanipulation, grafting, and in vitro culturing of animal caps are discussed as tools in the analysis of kidney development and as a source of tissue for subtractive hybridization strategies. The importance of expression cloning and functional analysis of newly identified pronephros-specific genes are also described. Finally, transgenesis and electroporation are discussed as potentially new methods of gene delivery to the pronephros. These techniques can be used to help identify the gene networks that control organogenesis of this larval kidney form, which will undoubtedly have applicability to higher vertebrate kidney development.

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