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Dev Growth Differ. 2008 Aug;50(6):499-506. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2008.01045.x. Epub 2008 May 14.

Gene application with in utero electroporation in mouse embryonic brain.

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RIKEN, Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan.


Mouse genetic manipulations, such as the production of gene knock-out, knock-in, and transgenic mice, have provided excellent systems for analysis of numerous genes functioning during development. Nevertheless, the lack of specific promoters and enhancers that control gene expression in specific regions and at specific times, limits usage of these techniques. However, progress in in utero systems of electroporation into mouse embryos has opened a new window, permitting new approaches to answering important questions. Simple injection of plasmid DNA solution and application of electrical current to mouse embryos results in transient area- and time-dependent transfection. Further modification of the technique, arising from variations in types of electrodes used, has made it possible to control the relative size of the region of transfection, which can vary from a few cells to entire tissues. Thus, this technique is a powerful means not only of characterizing gene function in various settings, but also of tracing the migratory routes of cells, due to its high efficiency and the localization of gene expression it yields. We summarize here some of the potential uses and advantages of this technique for developmental neuroscience research.

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