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The Cre-lox system is a technique for making knockouts. "Cre" is cyclization recombinase, an enzyme that recombines two loxP sites, which are specific sequences of 34 base pairs. To make a knockout mouse, the Cre gene and loxP sites are added to the mouse genenome. The way they are introduced can lead to several different mutations; the authors of the Agulhon et al. paper produced a deletion. The Cre and loxP mice are developed and then bred to produce the Cre-lox mice. Cre can be expressed in a tissue-specific fashion that creates a conditional knockout. The loxP sites flank an important part of the target gene (a floxed strain) to knock it out, effectively removing the gene.

This image shows how the Cre-lox system can be used to produce tissue-specific, GFP-marked knockout mice.

For more information, see the Jackson Laboratory Introduction to Cre-lox technology.

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