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Biochem Genet. 1998 Feb;36(1-2):65-77.

Rapid genotyping of mice with hemoglobinopathies and globin transgenes.

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Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-2100, USA.


The hematology of the laboratory mouse has been well characterized. Normal genetic differences at the alpha- and beta-globin gene loci serve as useful markers for a wide variety of types of experimental studies. There are a number of naturally occurring or induced mutations that disrupt globin expression and produce thalassemic phenotypes. In addition, much has been learned of the workings of the globin locus control region from studies of transgenic mice, including those with mutations induced by targeted site-specific modifications. After a new mutation or transgene has been created, it must be maintained in living mice, and the genotypes of the offspring must be ascertained. While it is possible to determine genotypes by DNA analyses, such assays are time consuming and relatively expensive. An osmotic challenge test--originally developed for the genotyping of large-deletion alpha-thalassemia mutations in mice--has proven useful in detecting both severe and milder alpha- and beta-thalassemias, as well as some transgenic genotypes in mice carrying human globin genes. Reliable genotyping can, in some cases, be completed within a few minutes with minimal expense. Quantification of red cell fragility for a variety of thalassemic and transgenic mice is described here, along with a simplified test suitable for rapid, routine genotyping. The osmotic challenge test is perfectly reliable for distinguishing genotypes that cause significantly decreased release of hemoglobin from the red cells, but it is also useful for some of the conditions in which overall erythrocyte osmotic fragility is essentially normal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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