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Learn.genetics.utah --making a transgenic mouse



Mario caoechhi

Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., of the University of Utah, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Capecchi shared the prize with Oliver Smithies of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Sir Martin Evans of Cardiff University in the UK.

The prize recognized Capecchi's pioneering work on "knockout mouse" technology, a gene-targeting technique that has revolutionized genetic and biomedical research, allowing scientists to create animal models for hundreds of human diseases.

As a child, Capecchi wandered homeless in Italy. As a researcher, his first attempts at gene targeting were deemed not ready for funding by the National Institutes of Health. Capecchi is an individual whose personal life proves that while some events are not probable, anything is possible.  Read Mario's story .

During the 1980s, Capecchi devised a way to change or remove any single gene in the mouse genome, creating strains of mice that pass the altered gene from parent to offspring. In the years since, these "transgenic" and "knockout" mice have become commonplace in the laboratory.

Capecchi's pioneering work in gene targeting has taught us much about how the body builds—and rebuilds—itself. He has given scientists worldwide the tools to make important discoveries about human diseases, from cancer to obesity.

And he has raised a key question for the future of human medicine: if we can replace a perfectly good gene with a mutated one, can we also go the other way, replacing problem genes with those that work?

Mario’s lab at work

What makes an arm an arm? Capecchi's research team is working on answering that question using gene targeting. They have systematically "knocked out" a set of genes in mice, called homeotic genes, which govern body patterning during development. For example, one of the lab's most recent genetic discoveries may explain  why we lack spare ribs . Find out more about how homeotic genes work in Genes Determine Body Patterns .

YOUR GOAL: You are studying how a particular gene, named OhNo, might play a role in panic attacks. You want to study mice that are missing this gene. To "knockout" the OhNo gene, you will replace it with a mutated copy that doesn't work.

Here's how:

1. Isolate Stem Cells

Isolate embryonic stem cells that originated from male brown mice with a normal OhNo gene (blue).

2. Add Inactive Gene With Marker

To these cells, add a copy containing a mutated, inactive OhNo gene (red), and a drug resistance marker gene (p3. Similar Genes Naturally Swap

3. Similar Genes Naturally Swap

By mechanisms that are not completely understood yet, similar genes will swap places. The OhNo gene plus drug resistance marker gene is incorporated into the genome, and the normal version is kicked out. This process is called homologous recombination.


4. Add Drug

Cells that haven't incorporated the inactive OhNo gene don't have the drug resistance marker gene (pink).

Adding the drug kills cells without the marker, leaving you with only cells that have an inactive version of the OhNo gene.

5. Grow Chimeric Mice

By transplanting stem cells that carry the inactive ohNo gene into a white mouse embyro, you'll create what is called a chimera. Chimeras have patches of cells throughout their bodies that grew from white mouse cells and patches that grew from brown stem cells. Some of the cells that have the inactive OhNo gene may develop into reproductive cells.

Chimeras are easy to identify because they have both brown and white patches of fur.

6. Mate Male Chimera

If a male chimera has some reproductive cells (sperm) that originated from the brown stem cells, he will produce some brown offspring when mated with a white female.

7. Test and Breed Brown Offspring

Half of the brown offspring will have a copy of the inactive OhNo gene in all of their cells—including their reproductive cells. These mice have one normal copy of the OhNo gene from their

mother (not shown) and one inactive copy from their father. So half of their reproductive cells will contain a normal copy, and half will contain an inactive copy.

These mice can be identified by performing DNA sequencing in their OhNo genes and then bred with each other.

8. You've Made a Knockout Mouse

One fourth of your resulting offsping will have two copies of the "knocked-out" or inactive OhNo gene. You can now study these mice to determine how lacking the OhNo gene may affect panic attacks.

Supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Grant No. R25RR023288 from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the NIH. The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

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Experimental figure


A dog sitting on a bed
Notice how cute the dog is just sitting there.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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