A new genetic technique helps pin-point mutations on specific chromosomes. The method, described in Nature (Vol. 425, No. 6953, dated 4 September 2003, pp. 81-86), has revealed 88 new mutations on mouse chromosome 11. Researchers hope that it will help us to understand human gene function, and the role of genes in disease.
Monica J. Justice and colleagues used tricks from fruitfly genetics to develop their new screen for mice. The method allows researchers to track down mutations in a particular region of a particular chromosome. Offspring with a mutation have yellow fur. Using the strategy, the team spotted a variety of mutations hidden on mouse chromosome 11 affecting skin, nervous system, blood cells, head and face, and fertility.
"The strategy vastly simplifies the breeding and maintenance of mutant strains - no complicated tools such as molecular genotyping are required, only the ability to follow coat colours," says Janet Rossant in an accompanying News and Views article.
Monica J. Justice
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
Tel: +1 713 798 5440
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tel: +1 416 586 8267
(C) Nature press release.
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