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Using genomewide mutagenesis screens to identify the genes required for neural tube closure in the mouse

Authors

  • Irene E. Zohn,

    Corresponding author
    1. Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York
    2. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Developmental Biology, University of Colorado at Denver, and Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado
    • University of Colorado Health Sciences Center – Fitzsimmons Campus, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Developmental Biology, PO Box 6511, MS 8322, Aurora, CO 80045
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  • Kathryn V. Anderson,

    1. Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York
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  • Lee Niswander

    1. Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York
    2. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Developmental Biology, University of Colorado at Denver, and Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado
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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Neural tube closure is a critical embryological process that requires the coordination of many molecular and cellular events. Only recently has the molecular basis of the cell movements that drive neural tube closure begun to be elucidated. This has been accomplished in part due to the analysis of a growing number of genetically targeted and naturally occurring mouse mutant strains that have neural tube defects (NTDs). Currently there are more than 100 genes that when mutated result in NTDs in the mouse. Yet only approximately 10% of genes in the mouse genome have been mutated and their gross phenotype analyzed, suggesting that only a small percentage of the genes that can cause NTDs have been identified.

METHODS

In order to more systematically and fully understand the genetic basis of neural tube closure and to begin to define the molecular pathways that direct this key embryonic event, our laboratories have undertaken a forward genetic screen in mice. From this we hope to gain a better understanding of the regulation of this complex morphogenic processes.

CONCLUSIONS

The mouse provides a good model for human neural tube closure, and therefore the information gained from generating novel mouse models of NTDs will help to predict the genes responsible for human NTDs and provide experimental evidence for how they function. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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