Cre-loxP-Mediated Recombination: General Principles and Experimental Considerations

Curr Protoc Mouse Biol. 2017 Mar 2;7(1):1-12. doi: 10.1002/cpmo.22.


The cre-loxP-mediated recombination system (the "cre-loxP system") is an integral experimental tool for mammalian genetics and cell biology. Use of the system has greatly expanded our ability to precisely interrogate gene function in the mouse, providing both spatial and temporal control of gene expression. This has been largely due to the simplicity of its use and its adaptability to address diverse biological questions. While the use of the cre-loxP system is becoming increasingly widespread, in particular because of growing availability of conditional mouse mutants, many considerations need to be taken into account when utilizing the cre-loxP system. This review provides an overview of the cre-loxP system and its various permutations. It addresses the limitations of cre-loxP technology and related considerations for experimental design, and it discusses alternative strategies for site-specific genetic recombination and integration. © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: conditional genetics; cre; cre-loxP; gene editing; loxP; recombination; site directed mutagenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Attachment Sites, Microbiological / genetics*
  • Bacteriophage P1 / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Integrases / genetics*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases
  • Doxycycline