Xenopus tropicalis as a Model Organism for Genetics and Genomics: Past, Present, and Future

  • Robert M. Grainger
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 917)


Xenopus tropicalis was introduced as a model system for genetic, and then genomic research, in the early 1990s, complementing work on the widely used model organism Xenopus laevis. Its shorter generation time and diploid genome has facilitated a number of experimental approaches. It has permitted multigenerational experiments (e.g., preparation of transgenic lines and generation of mutant lines) that have added powerful approaches for research by the Xenopus community. As a diploid animal, its simpler genome was sequenced before X. laevis, and has provided a highly valuable resource indispensable for all Xenopus researchers. As more sophisticated transgenic technologies for manipulating gene expression are developed, and mutations, particularly null mutations, are identified in widely studied genes involved in critical cellular and developmental processes, researchers will increasingly turn to X. tropicalis for definitive analysis of complex genetic pathways. This chapter describes the historical and conceptual development of X. tropicalis as a genetic and genomic model system for higher vertebrate development.

Key words

Xenopus tropicalis Experimental model system Genetics Natural mutations Mutagenesis screen Genomics Genome sequencing 



The author gratefully acknowledges contributions to developing the X. tropicalis system from lab members Lyle Zimmerman, Nicolas Hirsch, Selina Noramly, Jei Chae, Hui Wang, Hong Jin, Hajime Ogino, Takuya Nakayama, Marilyn Fisher, Margaret Fish and Matthew Etzell. Research on X. tropicalis was supported by grants to R.M.G. from the National Institutes of Health RR013221, EY019000 and EY017400. Grants to R.M.G. from NIH also support a National Xenopus Resource (RR025867) and National TILLING Resource (HD065713).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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