Retrospective on reverse genetics in mice around the world and in Japan

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The 2007 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies for their contribution in generating mutant mice by gene targeting in embryonic stem (ES) cells. Although there are many experimental animals, it is yet only in mouse that one can genetically examine functions of genes at will. It was merely a dream in the early 1980s that genetic studies with mutants would one day become a reality in mammals. The story began with tetratocarcinoma/embryonal carcinoma cells. Now, through the successes of cloning in mammals, somatic cells such as our skin cells will shortly be transformed into ES-like (induced pluripotent stem) cells by the proper activation of endogenous genes such as Oct4 and Sox2 with chemicals. How have times changed?

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