Interpretation of phenotype in genetically engineered mice

T. Doetschman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: In mice, genetic engineering involves two general approaches - addition of an exogenous gene, resulting in transgenic mice, and use of knockout mice, which have a targeted mutation of an endogenous gene. The advantages of these approaches is that questions can be asked about the function of a particular gene in a living mammalian organism, taking into account interactions among cells, tissues, and organs under normal, disease, injury, and stress situations. Methods: Review of the literature concentrating principally on knockout mice and questions of unexpected phenotypes, lack of phenotype, redundancy, and effect of genetic background on phenotype will be discussed. Conclusion: There is little gene redundancy in mammals; knockout phenotypes exist even if none are immediately apparent; and investigating phenotypes in colonies of mixed genetic background may reveal not only more phenotypes, but also may lead to better understanding of the molecular or cellular mechanism underlying the phenotype and to discovery of modifier gene(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalLaboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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