mice, knockoutmedical dictionary

Mice whose genome contains a gene whose function has been disrupted, or "knocked-out". A common method of producing disabled genes using recombinant DNA technology is by inserting an antibiotic resistance gene into the normal DNA sequence of a clone of the gene being studied. This disrupts the gene's action, thereby preventing it from making an active protein product. Cells in which this transfer is successful are then injected into mouse embryos, producing chimeric mice. These mice are bred to yield a strain in which all the cells contain the knocked-out gene. Knockout mice are used as animal models for various diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, and are helping to clarify the functions of the genes studied within the fields of immunology, cancer genetics, and developmental biology.

(12 Dec 1998)

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