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Conditional Knockout Mouse and Global Knockout Mouse

August 29, 2018
Conditional Knockout

Conditional Knockout Mouse and Global Knockout Mouse

Conditional Knockout Mouse and Global Knockout Mouse Models – What Is the Difference?

Whether we’re on the topic of regular or humanized mice, the differences between conditional knockout mouse and global knockout mouse models are extremely important. While one is easier to obtain and has to do with the deletion of a specific gene at a global level – meaning, everywhere – the other type of knockout focuses on eliminating the function of a gene at a local level. Among the different categorizations of knockout mice, these two are considered among the most crucial when it comes to the diversity of the range of experiments that genetic researchers can perform.

Understanding the Gene Knockout Process

Despite the fact that genetic researchers have successfully managed to map the human genome, the complexity of interactions between different genes can be extensive. To understand the difference between a conditional knockout mouse and global knockout mouse, it’s important to first understand how gene knockouts work and help researchers shed light on gene functioning. The basic idea is simple: by knocking out a gene, scientists hope to understand its function and the way it influences the body as a whole. However, in many cases, genes don’t behave in a straightforward manner. Sometimes, a gene only operates within the confines of a limited system, and at other times, it might even take the silencing of another gene to discover the function of the targeted one. As a result, it is essential that different types of knockouts are sometimes used, in order to obtain more accurate results.

Global Knockout Mouse Models

When considering the differences between a conditional knockout mouse and global knockout mouse, we have to understand what each of them are. Global knockout mice, as the name would suggest, are knockout mice that are obtained through the global elimination of a gene’s function. Global deletions have to be handled with care, as in most cases, they can result in major changes in behavior and health. For example, the deletion of a gene like the Nav1.7 gene will lead to severe changes in the mouse’s body when it comes to recognizing pain. However, scientists have also found that the global deletion of this gene is lethal in mice, and have since utilized gene editing methods based on conditional knockouts to further their research.

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How do Conditional Knockout Mice Differ?

When comparing conditional knockout mouse and global knockout mouse specimens, we can say that conditional knockouts are limited to a certain tissue within the body. For example, researchers can perform a knockout that only targets a certain organ, while the gene continues to operate in the rest of the body. Conditional knockout mice are far more diverse than global models, since they can also be “programmed” to experience the gene knockout at a certain time.

The Practical Benefits of a Conditional Knockout

Conditional knockout mice have experienced a significant surge in popularity due to their practical advantages. A conditional mouse model can be used to evaluate the details of how a certain gene behaves in a single organ or tissue, making it easy for researchers to study the local effects of various diseases and genetic impairments. When compared, the main difference between a conditional knockout mouse and a global knockout mouse is the practical specificity of the conditional model, which allows for a far greater range of applications than its global knockout counterpart.

Download Our Free Conditional Knockout (cKO) Quick Guide


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