The transfer of large DNA fragments to the mouse genome in the form of bacterial, yeast or phage artificial chromosomes is an important process in the definition of transcription units, the modeling of inherited disease states, the dissection of candidate regions identified by linkage analysis and the construction of in vivo reporter genes. However, as with small recombinant transgenes, the transferred sequences are usually integrated randomly often with accompanying genomic alterations and variable expression of the introduced genes due to the site of integration and/or copy number. Therefore, alternative methods of integrating large genomic transgenes into the genome have been developed to avoid the variables associated with random integration. This review encourages the reader to imagine the large variety of applications where artificial chromosome transgenes can facilitate in vivo and ex vivo studies in the mouse and provides a context for making the necessary decisions regarding the specifics of experimental design.
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