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Gene targeting in Neuroscience: Entering the future

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The double selection scheme that allowed efficient identification of homologous recombination-based replacements of endogenous genes with a targeting vector in embryonic stem cells has revolutionized reverse genetics. The method developed by Mario Capecchi and his colleagues in the mid-80s has since been ...

The double selection scheme that allowed efficient identification of homologous recombination-based replacements of endogenous genes with a targeting vector in embryonic stem cells has revolutionized reverse genetics. The method developed by Mario Capecchi and his colleagues in the mid-80s has since been widely used in studies investigating the biological function of genes in practically every subdiscipline of biology. This Research Topic will focus on how gene targeting has been used in neurobiology, i.e. in the analysis of the biological mechanisms of brain function and behavior. The Research Topic will review classical (first generation) knock out methods and second generation (inducible and cell type restricted gene expression and targeting) techniques, the evolution of the technology as well as the evolution of its use. It will start with the review of these different methods and will describe what we have learned over the past three decades about the utility and the limitations of gene targeting in brain research. These papers will be followed by examples of how gene targeting may be employed for the discovery of gene function and for the generation of animal models of human brain disorders. Lastly, the Research Topic will end with papers that will discuss the future. These papers will review novel methods and approaches, including recombinant DNA technologies that allow targeting or manipulating specific genes, neurobiological mechanisms or brain areas in a manner that has not been possible in the past.

This Research Topic is targeted primarily to the expert neurobiologist who wishes to utilize genetic methods in her/his research. However, the papers presented in the Research Topic should be of great value to scientists of other fields of biology and genetics as well as instructors and students who are interested in the rapidly evolving field of neurobehavioral genetics and modern behavioral neuroscience.


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