December 1, 2005;
Xenopus genomics, or Xenomics for short, is coming of age. Indeed, biological insight into processes such as growth factor signaling and patterning of the early embryo
is now being gained by combining the value of Xenopus as a model organism for cell and developmental biology with genomic approaches. In this review I address these recent advances and explore future possibilities gained from combining this powerful experimental system with genomic approaches, as well as how our quest to understand basic biological principles will be greatly facilitated though the marriage of Xenopus and genomics.
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Graph of number of deposited ESTs for Xenopus laevis (blue) and Xenopus tropicalis (red) for each year since 1997. In the past 2–3 yr, there has been an explosion of sequence information in the public repositories, heralding the arrival of these two systems into the genomics era.
Large-scale gain-of-function screen strategy in Xenopus. A unique full-length clone set is established and arrayed into 96-well plates. Miniplasmid preps are made and pools of plasmids made for each column. Each pooled set of plasmids is transcribed into mRNA in vitro. Pooled mRNA is injected into oocytes or embryos, and then a variety of functional screens are performed, depending on the type of molecules that are being sought. Once an active pool is identified, the pool is broken down to individual clones and assayed again to identify the active clone.