Background: The strain of MeCP2tm1.1Bird mice is a broadly used model for Rett syndrome. Because males carrying the invalidated MeCP2 locus are sterile, this strain has to be maintained in a heterozygous state. All animals therefore have to be genotyped at every generation to discriminate those carrying the invalidated allele (+/- females and y/- males) from those that do not. This is conveniently carried out by PCR on tail genomic DNA but because the primer pairs described initially for this purpose yield very similar size DNA bands on the WT and the KO alleles, this requires to carry out two independent PCR reactions on tail DNA preparations from all animals.
Results: After cloning and sequencing the PCR fragment amplified on the KO allele, we tested several sets of primers that were designed to yield PCR fragments of different sizes on the KO and WT alleles.
Conclusion: We have thus identified a set of three primers that allows for efficient genotyping of the animals by a single PCR reaction. Furthermore, using of this set of primers also resolves a recurrent problem related to the tendency of one of the initial primers to give rise to a non specific band because of its capacity to anneal at both ends of a repeated genomic element which we have identified as MurvyLTR.