Lineage Tracing in the Mammary Gland Using Cre/lox Technology and Fluorescent Reporter Alleles

Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1293:187-211. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2519-3_11.


Lineage tracing using Cre/lox technology has become a well-established technique to study the contribution of different (stem) cell populations to organ development and function. When used in the mammary gland, it forms a valuable addition to the already existing experimental toolbox and an important alternative to other readouts measuring stem cell potential, such as the fat pad transplantation assay.Here I describe how to set up and analyze an in vivo lineage tracing experiment using tamoxifen-inducible Cre/lox technology, highlighting the specific challenges that the investigator faces when employing this method and interpreting the results in the mammary gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Tracking / methods*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • Homologous Recombination*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Tamoxifen


  • Tamoxifen