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Keywords:

  • chemical genetics;
  • Xenopus;
  • forward and reverse screens;
  • small molecules

Abstract

Chemical genetics, or chemical biology, has become an increasingly powerful method for studying biological processes. The main objective of chemical genetics is the identification and use of small molecules that act directly on proteins, allowing rapid and reversible control of activity. These compounds are extremely powerful tools for researchers, particularly in biological systems that are not amenable to genetic methods. In addition, identification of small molecule interactions is an important step in the drug discovery process. Increasingly, the African frog Xenopus is being used for chemical genetic approaches. Here, we highlight the advantages of Xenopus as a first-line in vivo model for chemical screening as well as for testing reverse engineering approaches. genesis 50:207–218, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.