After the successful completion of the human genome project (HGP), biological research in the postgenome era urgently needs an efficient approach for functional analysis of genes. Utilization of knockout mouse models has been powerful for elucidating the function of genes as well as finding new therapeutic interventions for human diseases. Gene trapping and gene targeting are two independent techniques for making knockout mice from embryonic stem (ES) cells. Gene trapping is high-throughput, random, and sequence-tagged while gene targeting enables the knockout of specific genes. It has been about 20 years since the first gene targeting and gene trapping mice were generated. In recent years, new tools have emerged for both gene targeting and gene trapping, and organizations have been formed to knock out genes in the mouse genome using either of the two methods. The knockout mouse project (KOMP) and the international gene trap consortium (IGTC) were initiated to create convenient resources for scientific research worldwide and knock out all the mouse genes. Organizers of KOMP regard it as important as the HGP. Gene targeting methods have changed from conventional gene targeting to high-throughput conditional gene targeting. The combined advantages of trapping and targeting elements are improving the gene trapping spectrum and gene targeting efficiency. As a newly-developed insertional mutation system, transposons have some advantages over retrovirus in trapping genes. Emergence of the international knockout mouse consortium (IKMP) is the beginning of a global collaboration to systematically knock out all the genes in the mouse genome for functional genomic research.
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.