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This article is part of the supplement: Transposons in vertebrate functional genomics

Review

Manipulating the Xenopus genome with transposable elements

Donald A Yergeau and Paul E Mead*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, North Lauderdale Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA

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Genome Biology 2007, 8(Suppl 1):S11  doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-s1-s11

Published: 31 October 2007

Abstract

The study of amphibian embryogenesis has provided important insight into the mechanisms of vertebrate development. The frog Xenopus laevis has been an important model of vertebrate cell biology and development for many decades. Genetic studies in this organism are not practical because of the tetraploid nature of the genome and the long generation time of this species. Recently, a closely related frog, namely Xenopus tropicalis, has been proposed as an alternative system; it shares all of the physical characteristics that make X. laevis a useful model but has the advantage of a diploid genome and short generation time. The rapid accumulation of genetic resources for this animal and the success of pilot mutagenesis screens have helped propel this model system forward. Transposable elements will provide invaluable tools for manipulating the frog genome. These integration systems are ideally suited to transgenesis and insertional mutagenesis strategies in the frog. The high fecundity of the frog combined with the ability to remobilize transposon transgenes integrated into frog genome will allow large-scale insertional mutagenesis screens to be performed in laboratories with modest husbandry capacities.