Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 423-433

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Multicolor lineage tracing methods and intestinal tumors

  • Hirotsugu YanaiAffiliated withDepartment of Stem Cell Pathology, Kansai Medical UniversityDepartment of Surgery, Kansai Medical University
  • , Toshihiro TanakaAffiliated withDepartment of Stem Cell Pathology, Kansai Medical UniversityThird Department of Internal Medicine, Kansai Medical University
  • , Hiroo UenoAffiliated withDepartment of Stem Cell Pathology, Kansai Medical University Email author 


The generation of chimeras, which is now a standard technology for producing gene modified mutant mice, was originally developed as a tool for developmental biology. However, the application of conventional single marker chimeric mice for developmental study was initially limited. This situation has been dramatically changed by development of multicolor chimeric mice using various kinds of fluorescent proteins. Now using our technology, up to ten different clones could be distinguished by their colors, which enable us to perform more accurate statistical analyses and lineage tracing experiments than by conventional methods. This method could be applied to visualize not only cell turnover of normal stem cells but also cancer development of live tissues in vivo. In the present review, we will discuss how these methods have been developed and what questions they are now answering by mainly focusing on intestinal stem cells and intestinal tumors.


Chimeras Mosaic Intestinal stem cells Lineage tracing Intestinal tumors