COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Tuesday, April 1, 2008) Identifying genes that are important in specific tissues or processes in the mouse used to be a monumental task. New technologies and strategies have simplified this search, making it effective for even the smallest laboratories. This months issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org/TOCs/toc4_08.dtl) highlights a method for screening the mouse genome using ENU mutagenesis. The method, "Mouse Mutagenesis Using N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)," was submitted by Monica Justice and colleagues from the Baylor College of Medicine http://www.bcm.edu/db/db_fac-justice.html). In her laboratory, Justice uses this forward genetics method to identify genes that may play a role in human disease. In particular, Justices lab focuses on the process of hematopoiesis, the development of blood cells. Mutations in these genes can lead to leukemias or lymphomas. The method is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (http://www.cshprotocols.org/cgi/content/full/2008/5/pdb.prot4985).
The second featured protocol for April is a guide for selecting the proper method for analyzing evolutionary relationships between genes. In "Choosing a Method for Phylogenetic Prediction," David Mount from the University of Arizona (http://bmcb.biology.arizona.edu/mount.html) provides a step by step process to determine which of the major methods one should use for predicting phylogeny, the relatedness among gene sequences. The method is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (http://www.cshprotocols.org/cgi/content/full/2008/5/pdb.ip49).