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Questions about Speed Congenics

What is Speed congenics?

Speed Congenics, also referred to as "Marker assisted selection protocol" (MASP), is a method for the accelerated generation of congenic mouse lines. These are lines in which the smallest possible, defined DNA segment containing a modified gene (hereafter referred to as the target) has been transferred from one donor strain to another strain (recipient). The entire remainder of the genome of the congenic mouse line consists solely of recipient DNA. This transfer is achieved by a stepwise backcrossing, in which the offspring of a backcross generation are always mated again with animals of the recipient strain. From generation to generation, the genomic proportion of donor DNA thus decreases continuously.

Within each backcross generation, those individuals possessing the target are first identified. These are then genotyped using 200-250 informative STR markers (short tandem repeats, microsatellites), which are present at regular intervals across all chromosomes and can distinguish between donor and recipient. For the generation of the next backcross generation, the animal is used which already has the highest genomic proportion of the recipient strain among the offspring. This allows the total duration of backcrossing to be reduced from the original 10 generations in the classical method to 5-6 generations. This leads to a time saving of 1-1.5 years.

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