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Transgenic Service

Frank van der Hoeven / Brittney Armstrong


Microinjection: Under a microscope, a fine needle (right) is inserted into a mouse embryonic cell held by a suction pipette.

The Transgenic Service supports scientists at the DKFZ in the generation of genetically modified (transgenic) mouse lines. This procedure involves inserting, changing or deleting DNA sequences in the animals' genetic material. Depending on the scientific question, an inserted gene can be translated into a biologically active protein, or a specific gene of the recipient animal can be modified or silenced.

Three main methods are used for generating genetically modified mice (e.g., as model systems for investigating human diseases):

DNA microinjection: Foreign DNA is injected into fertilized mouse egg cells (zygotes) which are borne by foster mice. Part of the newborn mice will have integrated the foreign DNA into their own genome.

CRISPR/Cas (endonuclease-mediated site-specific genome editing): RNA (gRNA and Cas9 mRNA) and DNA (template, if desired) are injected into fertilized mouse egg cells (zygotes) which are borne by foster mice. Part of the newborn mice will have integrated the desired genetic modification at the targeted location.

ES cell microinjection: DNA is introduced into embryonic stem cells (ES cells) of mice, which are then injected into early mouse embryos (blastocysts). The ES cells containing the foreign DNA will be integrated into the embryo. Thus, it is possible to generate chimeric mice with mutations in specific genes (such as "knockout" mice). The effects observed in mice with such knockout mutations provide insight on the biological function normally performed by the silenced gene.

Beyond that, the Transgenic Service offers a cryopreservation service for the safe storage of mouse spermatozoa or embryos in liquid nitrogen. This can be done to preserve mouse lines which are not currently in use. Cryopreserved lines can also be revitalized at the Transgenic Service.

These services are currently only available to DKFZ and DKTK scientists.
Detailed information and application forms can be found on our Intranet pages.

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