The Laboratory Rat. Krinke GJ, Bullock G, Bunton T, eds., London: Academic Press, 2000 Jun; :603-633
Scientists have been performing genetic manipulations and analyses since Mendel first reported the heritable nature of physical characteristics in pea plants in 1865. With respect to rats, experimental biologists who crossbred rat strains for a variety of traits (Chapter 1) were occasionally rewarded by the advent of an unexpected functional or structUral phenotype. Such serendipitously acquired mutant lines, most of which result froT a spontaneous mutation to a single gene, were often expanded and characterized to serve as animal models of human diseases. However, a large-scale random breeding program to produce new lines with novel mutations would be very costly in rodents, even if combined with treatments that accelerate the mutation rate (e.g. Kasarkis et al., 1998). Furthermore, random breeding schemes and mutagenic agents cannot be employed effectively to produce defects in specific genes of interest.
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