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Open Access Mouse Nomenclature and Maintenance of Genetically Engineered Mice

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Modern genetic engineering technologies enable us to manipulate the mouse genome in increasingly complex ways to model human biology and disease. As a result, the number of mouse strains carrying transgenes or induced mutations has increased markedly. Thorough understanding of strain and gene nomenclature is essential to ensure that investigators know what kind of mouse they have, and what to expect in terms of phenotype. Genetically engineered mice alter gene function by over-expressing, eliminating, or modifying a gene product. The resulting phenotype is often unexpected and not completely understood, necessitating special care and potentially complex breeding and husbandry strategies. Animal care technicians responsible for routine maintenance of the colony, facility managers, veterinarians, and research personnel working with mice should be well informed about the nature of the mutation, distinguishing characteristics, and necessary precautions in handling the mice. Personnel working with mice also must be aware of the multitude of factors intrinsic to the mouse and present in the environment that can influence reproductive performance. Finally, diligent adherence to the maintenance of genetic quality in conjunction with cryopreservation of germplasm is the best insurance against loss of a colony.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609-1500

Publication date: 2003-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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