In order to understand the disturbances that gene mutations cause in humans, it is necessary to investigate the mutated protein in an appropriate environment. Rodents provide an efficient and globally standardized animal model system that shares the vast majority of processes at cellular and whole organism level with humans.
Our animal models range from knock outs (KO), knock ins (KI), overexpressors (OE) to conditionals (c).
- In KO mice the expression of a specific gene has been ablated, allowing the investigation of the effect(s) or the absence of its encoded protein.
- In KI mice, the endogenous wild type gene has been genetically changed to its mutant (pathological) form; therefore the expression levels are still regulated by its endogenous promoter.
- In OEs, a specific gene sequence is inserted with a constitutive promoter anywhere in the genome; as a result, this particular gene gets continually expressed in multiple copies.
- The latest animal models are conditionals (c). The expression of the gene of interest can be induced by the experimenter at any time. These models are particularly useful to avoid developmental compensation that occurs during development.