Transgenic Animal Technology. A Laboratory Handbook (3rd edition, 2014)

July 27th, 2014
Transgenic Animal Technology. A Laboratory Handbook (3rd edition, 2014)

Transgenic Animal Technology. A Laboratory Handbook (3rd edition, 2014)

Twenty years after the publication of the first edition and twelve years after the release of the second edition of this book, Carl A. Pinkert (Auburn University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn, AL, USA) in association with Elsevier, releases now the third edition of his famous transgenic manual: “Transgenic Animal Technology. A Laboratory Handbook. 3rd edition, 2014“. As it will be familiar to readers of the two previous editions of this useful and unique handbook, this is not only a manual to understand how to make a transgenic mouse. This handbook looks beyond mice and it contains protocols to prepare a wide variety of genetically-modified animals, including: rats, rabbits, poultry, fish, pigs, ruminants and non-human primates. In addition, this compilation of helpful methods includes a number of chapters devoted to understand and improve all steps of transgenesis, from vector design, analysis of transgene integration and the evaluation of transgene expression. Finally, the book also includes cryopreservation methods, an embryo culture section, a review of standard nomenclature and a selection of databases and internet resources currently available in the field.

This handbook is a worth addition to any library, laboratory or transgenic facility, complementary to other available manuals on the subject, but unique in the sense that it exquisitely illustrates current transgenic methods that can be applied to a wide variety of animal species, beyond mice.

Carl A. Pinkert has been helped in his outstanding Editorial task by a large group of co-authors, experts in their subjects, including some ISTT members: Satoshi Akagi, Anna V. Anagnostopoulos, Benjamin P. Beaton, Cory F. Brayton, Steve Brown, Anthony W.S. Chan, Tom Doetschman, Rex A. Dunham, David A. Dunn, Janan T. Eppig, Almudena Fernandez, Tatiana Flisikowska, Vasiliy Galat, Robert A. Godke, Philip Iannaccone, Michael H. Irwin, Larry W. Johnson, Yoko Kato, Teoan Kim, Alexander Kind, Bon Chul Koo, Mo Sun Kwon, Daniel J. Ledbetter, Michael J. Martin, Kazutsugu Matsukawa, Colin McKerlie, Lluis Montoliu, Paul E. Mozdziak, Akira Onishi, Paul A. Overbeek, James N. Petitte, L. Philip Sanford, Jorge A. Piedrahita, Wendy K. Pogozelski, H. Greg Polites, Edmund B. Rucker III, Marina Sansinena, Angelika Schnieke, Kumiko Takeda, James A. Thomson, Ian A. Trounce, Yukio Tsunoda, Cristina Vicente-Garcia, Kevin D. Wells, Richard N. Winn and Curtis R. Youngs.

Manipulating the Mouse Embryo. A Laboratory Manual (4th edition, 2014)

July 22nd, 2014
Manipulating the Mouse Embryo. A Laboratory Manual (4th edition, 2014)

Manipulating the Mouse Embryo. A Laboratory Manual (4th edition, 2014)

A bit more than 10 years later, from the last edition (3rd, 2003) published, the classical manual, the “Bible” in our field has been renewed, updated, upgraded and recently published in its fourth edition. The new “Manipulating the Mouse Embryo. A Laboratory Manual. 4th edition, 2014” has just been released, published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and edited by Richard Behringer, Marina Gertsenstein, Kristina Vintersten Nagy and Andras Nagy. The editors, the same team that produced the 3rd edition of this useful manual, should be praised once again for a brilliant work done, accommodating the latest techniques in mouse embryo manipulation, while not forgetting the traditional procedures that must be learnt properly by anyone joining this field of animal transgenesis for the first time.  The editors counted with the help of many additional collaborators, who provided materials and protocols, including many ISTT members, as Marina and Andras are, such as:  Wojtek Auerbach, Ralph Brinster, Jorge Cabezas, Tracy Caroll, Lluis Montoliu, Naomi Nakagata, Jan Parker-Thornburg, Shirley Pease and Thomas Saunders, just to name a few of the many colleagues that shared their expertise and contributed to this 4th edition of the CSHLP manual.

This fourth edition is dedicated to Anne McLaren (1927-2007), one of the brave and gifted pioneer in mouse genetics and embriology, and whom do we all owe a number of standard procedures that we routinely apply in a transgenic laboratory, such as mouse embryo culturing, pseudopregnancy and embryo transfer.

The structure of this 4th edition manual follows that of the 3rd edition, in the sense that chapters and methods are grouped logically and functionally, from a very good summary on mouse genetics and mouse embryo development, to mouse colony management, and followed by a variety of main sections dealing with in vitro and in vivo work, surgical procedures, the production of transgenic mice by pronuclear microinjection, derivation of ES cell lines, using ES cells to generate germline-transmitting chimeras, genotyping protocols, parthenogenesis and nuclear transfer, assisted reproduction techniques, cryopreservation methods, techniques for visualizing gene products and finishing by a chapter devoted to setting up a micromanipulation laboratory and the usual and convenient appendix with receipts for the common buffers and solutions.

Besides this excellent updated version of the CSHLP Mouse Manual, there are several books published on this subject, including the ISTT manual (Springer, 2011) edited by Shirley Pease and Thomas Saunders, and all are worth reading and having them around for consultation, since each one brings their own contribution, their view and their solutions for the adequate learning of how to best manipulate animal embryos, and not all methods and protocols are covered in a single book, hence they are largely complementary. I will be soon reporting in this ISTT blog about additional books recently published in this field.


Results of 2014 ISTT elections: new board members elected

July 1st, 2014
Results from 2014 ISTT elections: new board members elected

Results from 2014 ISTT elections: new board members elected

On behalf of the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT), it is my pleasure to announce the results of the 2014 ISTT Elections. Jan Parker-Thornburg has been elected ISTT President. Aimee Stablewski has been elected ISTT Secretary and Treasurer. Cheryl Bock and Martina Crispo have been elected new ISTT Board members. Elizabeth Williams has been re-elected ISTT Board member for a second and last turn. Congratulations to all of them!. And our deepest appreciation to all candidates generously participating in this 2014 ISTT Election process. The new elect Officers and Board members will be validated by the ISTT General Assembly at the 12th Transgenic Technology meeting (TT2014), in Edinburgh, in October, and they will enter into service on January 1st, 2015, for a period of three consecutive TT meetings, TT2014-TT2017, as stated in the updated ISTT bylaws registered in the US. Best wishes and good luck to all.

CRISPR-Cas resources at the ISTT web site

June 24th, 2014
CRISPR-Cas resources at the ISTT web site. Illustration from: CRISPR-Cas technology and applications (video by Le Cong from Feng Zhang's lab at MIT/BROAD institute. This video has been made possible thanks to Addgene)

CRISPR-Cas resources at the ISTT web site. Illustration from: CRISPR-Cas technology and applications (video by Le Cong from Feng Zhang’s lab at MIT/BROAD institute. This video has been made possible thanks to Addgene)

CRISPR-Cas strategies are discussed and applied everywhere for the targeted modification of genomes. Every day a new lab is considering using CRISPR-Cas for the generation of their subsequent animal mutants. There are many papers regularly being published on this subject and a number of excellent online resources have been prepared by several labs actively working in this field. For newcomers/beginners this might seem (and it is) a lot of information, potentially difficult to digest.

In this regard, from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT), we have prepared a simple web page containing a selection of CRISPR-Cas resources and related information, for anyone willing to start using these technologies. Please, feel free to suggest any additional CRISPR-Cas resources you might be aware/using/have developed, which might be worth including in these web pages. Thanks.

In particular, we wish to thank Feng Zhang (MIT/BROAD) and his lab for their efforts, videos (such as this video from Le Cong, PhD, illustrating this post, this video has been made possible thanks to Addgene, and is part of this series), online desing tools, protocols, etc… disseminating these technologies. Feng Zhang will receive the third ISTT Young Investigator Award and will attend the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh.

TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)

June 17th, 2014
TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)

TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)

From the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) we warmly invite and encourage you all to submit your most recent and exciting results and developments in animal transgenesis to be presented at the forthcoming 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014. Deadline for submitting abstracts for the TT2014 meeting is June 30.
To submit an abstract please visit this TT2014 meeting web page.

All TT2014 participants are encouraged to submit their work as an abstract for poster presentation at the TT2014 meeting. Authors are requested to submit an abstract with the following requirements:

  • Title (max. 25 words)
  • Name authors and affiliations (first author is the presenting author).
  • Text of the communication (max. 400 words).
  • Abstracts should be submitted no later than June 30, 2014.

Accepted abstracts will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated.

Posters will be on display in the exhibition area throughout the duration of the meeting. Poster boards are 1.00m wide x 2.00m high and we recommend posters do not exceed 1.50m in length. A supply of Velcro tabs will be available at the venue. No screws or double-sided adhesive tape will be allowed due to the damage they can cause to the boards.

Best Poster Awards
All posters presented at the TT2014 meeting will be eligible for one of the ISTT Best Poster Awards, generously sponsored by Charles River, Inc.

Oral Presentations
A limited number of abstract submissions will be selected and invited to present their findings in the form of a short oral presentation within the main meeting program. Should you be interested in being considered to speak at the meeting please select the appropriate option when submitting your abstract.

Abstracts are invited on all aspects of Transgenic Technologies, including the conference themes as listed below:

  • New technologies in animal transgenesis
  • Embryo stem cells
  • Target nucleases or Editing nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs)
  • Large-scale phenotyping
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Imaging with transgenic animals
  • Mouse models of human disease
  • Zebrafish models of human disease and transgenesis
  • Animal ethics and welfare

We are looking forward to receiving your exciting works to discuss the latest development on animal transgenesis!. See you all in Edinburgh!

The TT2014 Registration Awards for ISTT members: deadline for submitting applications is 30th June

June 16th, 2014
The TT2014 Registration Awards for ISTT members: deadline for submitting applications is 30th June

The TT2014 Registration Awards for ISTT members: deadline for submitting applications is 30th June

A minimum of six registration awards for ISTT members willing to attend the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014, will be sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT). Applications should be sent, along with the registration confirmation and the requested additional documents to by June 30, 2014. The ISTT will pay the Registration Fee of all applicants selected for one of these TT2014 registration awards. Please note that applicants not selected for an award are required to pay the corresponding registration fee. Please note the Award covers registration fees and attendance to all social events, however, does not cover travel, accommodation expenses or attendance at pre meeting events. Award decisions will be communicated by July 15, 2014 and awardees will receive a diploma at the TT2014 Meeting.

Applications for registration awards by ISTT members should be sent to the official ISTT email address (, by June 30, 2014,  and should include the following documentation:

  • Applicant’s CV
  • Letter describing how the applicant will benefit from attendance at the TT meeting
  • Only for technician/students: Letter of support from the applicant’s head/supervisor stating the support to the applicant’s participation in the TT meeting and highlighting why attendance will benefit the applicant’s career

Applicants must register first at the TT2014 website and select, as a payment method, “application for registration awards”. The ISTT will pay the Registration Fee of all applicants selected for an award. However, if they are not selected they would be kindly requested to pay the corresponding registration fee

Selection Process
The ISTT Council will examine all applications received. Registration Awards will be selected according to the documents submitted and with preference given to:

  1. Student/Technician ISTT Members
  2. ISTT Members submitting an abstract for presentation as a poster/short-oral communication at the TT meeting
  3. Any other ISTT Member

Award decisions will be communicated by July 15, 2014. Awardees will have their TT registration fees entirely waived. Awardees will receive a diploma at the Awards ceremony at the end of the TT2014 meeting. Applicants that are not yet members of the ISTT may choose to register/join first the ISTT and simultaneously submit their travel/registration award application. ISTT Registration/Travel awards for each TT meeting will only be provided to ISTT members who have paid their current annual fees.

The TT2014-associated Zebrafish Transgenesis Workshop: 8-10 October 2014 in Edinburgh

June 10th, 2014
The TT2014-associated Zebrafish Transgenesis Workshop: 8-10 October 2014 in Edinburgh

The TT2014-associated Zebrafish Transgenesis Workshop: 8-10 October 2014 in Edinburgh

Immediately after the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, a unique hands-on zebrafish transgenesis workshop will be taking place in Edinburgh, on October 8-10, 2014. This will be the first non-rodent hands-on transgenic workshop ever organized after a TT meeting. This workshop is offered to willing participants registered to attend the TT2014 meeting (October 6-8, 2014). Registration is handled separately and, at first, intended participants should submit their expression of interest to Organizers. Please note that attendance at this meeting is limited to 20 participants only. Due also to high demand for places, there is a selection process in place for all applicants wishing to attend the workshop. Applications should be sent, along with proof of registration to the following email address: by June 30, 2014. Decisions on the successful applicants will be communicated by July 15, 2014.

The zebrafish is fast becoming a very significant vertebrate animal model system in scientific research; highlighted by the exponential increase in zebrafish-related publications. The role of zebrafish in science is only going to increase in the future; techniques are being constantly developed and more and more people recognise its advantages and benefits to research.

This small freshwater, tropical fish has some clear and unique advantages as a model system; these include its optical transparency, with ex-utero synchronous and rapid development, which allows direct, and continuous in-vivo observation. Genetic and pharmacological manipulation is relatively straight forward and the zebrafish is able to regenerate all organs and tissues. The fish can be maintained under very economic conditions and can be obtained in significant numbers, allowing statistically high N values. Another major advantage is that the developing zebrafish can survive for several days without a cardiovascular system, allowing examination of embryonic-lethal genotypes and phenotypes, from the single-cell stage. Whilst the zebrafish may lack certain (and some obvious) mammalian organs, and despite being physically very different, there are very important genetic and cellular similarities, with development being directly comparable to humans.

The workshop ‘An Introduction to Zebrafish Transgenesis’ follows TT2014 and is the first practical workshop in a non-rodent model species. The practical sessions will start with gene expression interference using classical morpholino microinjection on Day 1, which is complemented on Day 2 with microinjection of a simple fluorescent transgene construct. The scheduled embryology sessions are separated by a wide-ranging series of talks from leading experts in aquatic transgenics. Both the tutorials and practical instruction will provide all the information needed to perform husbandry and gene manipulation in the early zebrafish embryo. Topics include: husbandry best practise, microinjection principles, transgenesis and mutagenesis using recombinases, imaging and cryopreservation.

Appointed teachers and instructors for this zebrafish workshop include: Liz Patton, Carl Tucker, Koichi Kawakami, Stephen Ekker, Keith Joung, Henry Roehl, Robert Kelsh, Martin Denvir, David Lyons, Dirk Seiger, Yi Feng and Karthikeyani Paranthaman.

If you are interested to learn how to work with this alternative vertebrate animal model do not miss this extraordinary opportunity to become familar with basic zebrafish transgenesis techniques and register your interest to attend this hands-on workshop, associated with the TT2014 meeting.


Highlights of the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: a conference you can’t miss!

June 5th, 2014
The TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh (6-8 October 2014)

The TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh (6-8 October 2014)

This year’s ISTT main activity is the 12th Transgenic Technology conference, the TT2014 meeting, which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014, followed by a 2-day hands-on workshop on basic zebrafish transgenesis techniques. The ISTT promotes the TT meetings every 18 months, these being the most important activity of our Society. This year, the local Organizers and advisory committees, commanded by Douglas Strathdee, need to be praised for preparing a most appealing and interesting program, addressing hot topics, current and most up-to-date issues actively discussed nowadays by the transgenic animal community. Talks that will be presented by the most active and prestigious scientists in our field.

Why you shouldn’t miss the TT2014 meeting?

  • If you are interested in the new transgenic methods associated to nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs and CRISPRs-Cas9) there will be plenty of  interesting talks where these new fantastic tools will be presented and discussed, directly by the key players in this rapidly-evolving field, including: Rudolf Jaenisch, William Skarnes, Angelika Schnieke, Kai Schönig, Ignacion Anegon, Pawel Pelczar, Francis Stewart, Keith Joung and Feng Zhang. And, most likely, these techniques will be referred and cited in many additional talks too, including the round table discussion about the future of transgenic core facilities, chaired by James Bussell.
  • If you are interested in ES cell biology and in innovative uses of ES cells and associated technologies there will be unique talks delivered by Jos Jonkers, Austin Smith, Ian Chambers, Janet Rossant and Alex Joyner
  • If you are interested in phenotyping your mouse animal models there will be fantastic talks delivered by  Jacqueline White, Stephen Murray, David Adams, Daniel MurphyAnna-Katerina Hadjatonakis and Vasilis Ntziachristos
  • If you are interested in non-rodent, large mammals and birds, animal models there will be great talks by James Murray, Angelika Schnieke, Mike McGrew and Adrian Shermann
  • If you are interested in rats there will be compelling talks by Kai Schönig and Ignacio Anegon
  • If you are interested in zebrafish animal models there will be fascinating talks by Stephen Ekker, Koichi KawakamiKeith Joung and Elizabeth Patton
  • If you are interested in animal welfare and 3Rs, in the best use of our laboratory animals, there will be captivating talks by Peter Hohenstein, Sara Wells and Jan-Bas Prins.

Therefore, there will be really engaging talks interesting to everyone in our field. This is why you shouldn’t miss this great and unique opportunity!.

Register now for the TT2014 meeting. Submission of abstracts will be accepted up to June 30. Early-Bird registration at reduced fees will be promoted up to July 31. ISTT members are entitled to reduced fee registration.

See you all in Edinburgh in October!


The 2014 ISTT Election Process

June 1st, 2014
The 2014 ISTT Election Process

The 2014 ISTT Election Process

The 2014 ISTT Election Process has been launched. All members of the International Society for Transgenic Technologies are warmly invited to elect the next ISTT President, ISTT Secretary, ISTT Treasurer and three new board members. All these new positions at the ISTT Board will begin their term of service on January 1st, 2015. The 2014 ISTT elections will take place within the members-only area of the ISTT web site, during the entire month of June 2014. Results will be published shortly thereafter. The ISTT wishes to express its deepest gratitude and sincere acknowledgement to all 12 nominated candidates which will run for the various positions to be elected within the board. The official nominated candidates participating in this 2014 ISTT Election Process are: Jan Parker-Thornburg (USA), Lynn Doglio (USA), Channabasavaiah B Gurumurthy (USA), Aimee Stablewski (USA), Cheryl Bock (USA), Martina Crispo (Uruguay), Larry Johnson (USA), Sagrario Ortega (Spain), Xin Rairdan (USA), Tanya Templeton (Australia), Elizabeth Williams (Australia) and Branko Zevnik (Germany). All candidates deserve our most sincere appreciation for their generous willingness to serve and further contribute to the success of our Society. Good luck to everyone!

In Memory of Ueli Märki

May 31st, 2014
In Memory of Ueli Märki

In Memory of Ueli Märki

On Thursday I got the very sad information that Ueli (Ulrich) Märki passed away on Saturday last week. This is a great loss for all that got to know him and we all mourn with his family about this tragic loss.
I first got in contact to Ueli during my university time in Heidelberg in the beginning of the 90th, while he was still working for RCC in Switzerland. I got to know him as a very dedicated scientist (thanks for teaching me a lot of mouse genetics Ueli!) a very nice colleague and in the long-run as a dear friend. When we initiated the first Transgenic Symposium in Heidelberg in 1993, he was one of the supporting persons, encouraging us to get this meeting up and running.
During the forthcoming years I met Ueli at various meetings and it was always a pleasure and a lot of fun together with him. I especially enjoyed the unofficial parts at the meetings, which we spend with a good beer or wine, discussing all the world and his brother. Even when I moved over to Sweden and he joining Taconic we kept the contact even when we then didn’t meet so often. And it was again he helping me a lot with setting up the first TT Meeting in Stockholm 1999. He was also one of the first to join the ISTT when it was founded, always supporting us with good ideas, but also challenging us when something didn’t seemed to go the right way.
I was looking forward meeting him again at the next GV-SOLAS meeting this year in September. I am going to miss and will hold him in good remembrance, as valued researcher and dear friend.
Our deepest regrets and condolences go to his family and his close friends. We are going to miss him unspeakably.

Johannes Wilbertz



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