Published online Dec 31, 2009. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v1.i1.22
Revised: December 14, 2009
Accepted: December 21, 2009
Published online: December 31, 2009
In mice, gene targeting by homologous recombination continues to play an essential role in the understanding of functional genomics. This strategy allows precise location of the site of transgene integration and is most commonly used to ablate gene expression (“knock-out”), or to introduce mutant or modified alleles at the locus of interest (“knock-in”). The efficacy of producing live, transgenic mice challenges our understanding of this complex process, and of the factors which influence germline competence of embryonic stem cell lines. Increasingly, evidence indicates that culture conditions and in vitro manipulation can affect the germline-competence of Embryonic Stem cell (ES cell) lines by accumulation of chromosome abnormalities and/or epigenetic alterations of the ES cell genome. The effectiveness of ES cell derivation is greatly strain-dependent and it may also influence the germline transmission capability. Recent technical improvements in the production of germline chimeras have been focused on means of generating ES cells lines with a higher germline potential. There are a number of options for generating chimeras from ES cells (ES chimera mice); however, each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Recent developments in induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology have opened new avenues for generation of animals from genetically modified somatic cells by means of chimera technologies. The aim of this review is to give a brief account of how the factors mentioned above are influencing the germline transmission capacity and the developmental potential of mouse pluripotent stem cell lines. The most recent methods for generating specifically ES and iPS chimera mice, including the advantages and disadvantages of each method are also discussed.