Chromosomal rearrangements have been instrumental in genetic studies in Drosophila. Visibly marked deficiencies (deletions) are used in mapping studies and region-specific mutagenesis screens by providing segmental haploidy required to uncover recessive mutations. Marked recessive lethal inversions are used as balancer chromosomes to maintain recessive lethal mutations and to maintain the integrity of mutagenized chromosomes. In mice, studies on series of radiation-induced deletions that surround several visible mutations have yielded invaluable functional genomic information in the regions analyzed. However, most regions of the mouse genome are not accessible to such analyses due to a lack of marked chromosomal rearrangements. Here we describe a method to generate defined chromosomal rearrangements using the Cre--loxP recombination system based on a published strategy [R. Ramirez-Solis, P. Liu, and A. Bradley, (1995) Nature 378, 720--724]. Various types of rearrangements, such as deletions, duplications, inversions, and translocations, can be engineered using this strategy. Furthermore, the rearrangements can be visibly marked with coat color genes, providing essential reagents for large-scale recessive genetic screens in the mouse. The ability to generate marked chromosomal rearrangements will help to elevate the level of manipulative mouse genetics to that of Drosophila genetics.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.