Adv Genet Eng 2013 27;2(2). Epub 2013 Jun 27.
Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, Maryland 21702.
Genetically engineered mouse models are indispensable for understanding the biological function of genes, understanding the genetic basis of human diseases and for preclinical testing of novel therapies. Generation of such mouse models has been possible because of our ability to manipulate the mouse genome. Recombineering is a highly efficient recombination-based method of genetic engineering that has revolutionized our ability to generate mouse models. Since recombineering technology is not dependent on the availability of restriction enzyme recognition sites, it allows us to modify the genome with great precision. It requires homology arms as short as 40 bases for recombination, which makes it relatively easy to generate targeting constructs to insert, change or delete either a single nucleotide or a DNA fragment several kb in size; insert selectable markers, reporter genes or add epitope tags to any gene of interest. In this review, we focus on the development of recombineering technology and its application in the generation of transgenic and knockout or knock-in mouse models. High throughput generation of gene targeting vectors, used to construct knockout alleles in mouse embryonic stem cells, is now feasible because of this technology. The challenge now is to use the "designer" mice to develop novel therapies to prevent, cure or effectively manage some the most debilitating human diseases.