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Mech Dev March 1, 2005; 122 (3): 273-87.

A gynogenetic screen to isolate naturally occurring recessive mutations in Xenopus tropicalis.

Noramly S , Zimmerman L , Cox A , Aloise R , Fisher M , Grainger RM .

In the rapidly developing, diploid amphibian Xenopus tropicalis, genetics can be married to the already powerful tools of the amphibian system to overcome a disability that has hampered Xenopus laevis as a model organism: the difficulties inherent in conducting genetic analyses in a tetraploid organism with a longer generation time. We describe here a gynogenetic screen to uncover naturally occurring recessive mutations in wild X. tropicalis populations, a procedure that is both faster and easier than conventional genetic screens traditionally employed in model organisms to dissect early developmental pathways. During the first round of our screen, gynogenetic diploids from over 160 females comprising four different wild-caught populations were examined. Forty-two potential mutant phenotypes were isolated during this round of gynogenesis. From this group, we describe 10 lines that have genetically heritable recessive mutations. A wide range of developmental defects were obtained in this screen, encompassing effects limited to individual organs as well phenotypes characterized by more global changes in tadpole body morphology. The frequency of recessive mutations detected in our screen appears lower than that seen in other vertebrate genetic screens, but given constraints on the screening procedure used here, is likely to be consistent with rates seen in other animals, and clearly illustrates how wild-caught animals can be a productive source of developmental mutations for experimental study. The development of genetic strategies for the Xenopus system, together with new genomic resources, existing technologies for transgenesis, and other means for manipulating gene expression, as well as the power of performing embryonic manipulations, will provide an impressive set of tools for resolving complex cell and developmental phenomena in the future.

PubMed ID: 15763208
Article link: Mech Dev
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: nkx2-5

Article Images: [+] show captions