Breeding “knockout” mice is a prized tool for evaluating
the function of genes, but it is a ponderous and costly tool, consuming
many months and thousands of dollars to create each new knockout strain.
But that could soon change. In today’s issue of Nature, researchers at a
Texas-based company, Lexicon Genetics, describe a new technique that
mutates genes at random in embyonic stem cells, used to make knockout
mice, and then automatically identifies the mutated gene. The method
makes it possible to produce a library of thousands of cells, each one
with a mutation in a single known gene. A researcher can simply order a
cell with a specified gene knockout. The company has said that
scientists engaged in noncommercial research can obtain the cells free
of charge. For further information, contact: Brian P. Zambrowicz tel +1
281 364 0100, fax +1 281 364 0155, email firstname.lastname@example.org.-June Kinoshita.
Reference:Zambrowicz BP, Friedrich GA, Buxton EC, Lilleberg SL, Person C, Sands AT. Disruption and sequence identification of 2,000 genes in mouse embryonic stem cells. Nature 1998 Apr 9;392(6676):608-11. Abstract