The study of gene function in normal human physiology and pathophysiology is complicated by countless factors such as genetic diversity (~98 million SNPs identified in the human genome as of June 2015), environmental exposure, epigenetic imprinting, maternal/in utero exposure, diet, exercise, age, sex, socioeconomic factors, and many other variables. Inbred mouse lines have allowed researchers to control for many of the variables that define human diversity but complicate the study of the human genome, gene/protein function, cellular and molecular pathways, and countless other genetic diseases. Furthermore, genetically modified mouse models enable us to generate and study mice whose genomes differ by as little as a single point mutation while controlling for non-genomic variables. This allows researchers to elucidate the quintessential function of a gene, which will further not only our scientific understanding, but provide key insight into human health and disease. Recent advances in CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing have revolutionized scientific protocols for introducing mutations into the mammalian genome. The ensuing chapter provides an overview of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in murine embryonic stem cells for the generation of genetically modified mouse models.
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