Mouse nomenclature and maintenance of genetically engineered mice.


C C. Linder

Document Type


Publication Date



Animals, Genetic-Engineering, Mice, Mice-Inbred-Strains, Mice-Transgenic, Terminology

JAX Location

see Journal Collection

JAX Source

Comp Med 2003 Apr; 53(2):119-25.


Modern genetic engineering technologies enable us to manipulate the mouse genome in increasingly complex ways to model human biology and disease. As a result, the number of mouse strains carrying transgenes or induced mutations has increased markedly. Thorough understanding of strain and gene nomenclature is essential to ensure that investigators know what kind of mouse they have, and what to expect in terms of phenotype. Genetically engineered mice alter gene function by over-expressing, eliminating, or modifying a gene product. The resulting phenotype is often unexpected and not completely understood, necessitating special care and potentially complex breeding and husbandry strategies. Animal care technicians responsible for routine maintenance of the colony, facility managers, veterinarians, and research personnel working with mice should be well informed about the nature of the mutation, distinguishing characteristics, and necessary precautions in handling the mice. Personnel working with mice also must be aware of the multitude of factors intrinsic to the mouse and present in the environment that can influence reproductive performance. Finally, diligent adherence to the maintenance of genetic quality in conjunction with cryopreservation of germplasm is the best insurance against loss of a colony.

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