Non-invasive instant genotyping of fluorescently labeled transgenic mice

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Dieter Fink
Tien Yin Yau
Thomas Kolbe
Thomas Rülicke


Fluorescence proteins have been useful as genetic reporters for a wide range of applications in biomedical research and are frequently used for the analysis of transgene activity.
Here, we show that expression levels of the ubiquitously expressed fluorescent proteins eGFP, mCherry and tdTomato can be measured in transgenic mouse lines with random or targeted integrations. We identified the tail of the mouse as the tissue best suited for quantifying fluorescence intensity and show that expression levels in the tail correlate with gene dose. This allows for instant non-invasive determination of the genetic condition at the transgenic locus (hemizygous/heterozygous and homozygous) while simultaneously providing an objective comparison for transgene expression levels among different mouse lines.
In summary, we demonstrate for the first time that the gene dose of a ubiquitously expressed fluorescence reporter can be reliably quantified and directly linked to the genotype of transgenic mice. Based on this information, animals with the appropriate genotype can be instantly selected without laborious analysis for establishing and breeding of new transgenic lines, reducing the number of “waste” animals. Furthermore, no tissue sampling is necessary, which is a significant refinement of genotyping procedures. Both aspects are important improvements for the genotyping of transgenic mice that follow the principles of the 3Rs (reduction and refinement).

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How to Cite
Fink, D., Yau, T. Y., Kolbe, T. and Rülicke, T. (2015) “Non-invasive instant genotyping of fluorescently labeled transgenic mice”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 32(3), pp. 222–227. doi: 10.14573/altex.1502181.
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