Mouse chimeras as a system to investigate development, cell and tissue function, disease mechanisms and organ regeneration
Volume 10, Issue 13
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July 1, 2011
Pages 2091 - 2099http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.10.13.16360
Authors: Sigrid Eckardt, K. John McLaughlin and Holger Willenbring View affiliations
Chimeras are organisms composed of at least two genetically distinct cell lineages originating from different zygotes. In the laboratory, mouse chimeras can be produced experimentally; various techniques allow combining different early stage mouse embryos with each other or with pluripotent stem cells. Identification of the progeny of the different lineages in chimeras permits to follow cell fate and function, enabling correlation of genotype with phenotype. Mouse chimeras have become a tool to investigate critical developmental processes, including cell specification, differentiation, patterning, and the function of specific genes. In addition, chimeras can also be generated to address biological processes in the adult, including mechanisms underlying diseases or tissue repair and regeneration. This review summarizes the different types of chimeras and how they have been generated and provides examples of how mouse chimeras offer a unique and powerful system to investigate questions pertaining to cell and tissue function in the developing and adult organism.
Received: May 5, 2011; Accepted: May 6, 2011