Gene trapping in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells is an efficient method for the mutagenesis of the mammalian genome. Insertion of a gene trap vector disrupts gene function, reports gene expression, and provides a convenient tag for the identification of the insertion site. The trap vector can be delivered to ES cells by electroporation of a plasmid, by retroviral infection, or by transposon-mediated insertion. Recent developments in trapping technology involve the utilization of site-specific recombination sites, which allow the induced modification of trap alleles in vitro and in vivo. Gene trapping strategies have also been successfully developed to screen for genes that are acting in specific biological pathways. In this chapter, we review different applications of gene trapping, and we provide detailed experimental protocols for gene trapping in ES cells by retroviral and transposon gene trap vectors.
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