Down syndrome (DS), also known as Trisomy 21, is the most common chromosome aneuploidy in live-born children and displays a complicated symptom. To date, several kinds of mouse models have been generated to understand the molecular pathology of DS, yet the gene dosage effects and gene(s)-phenotype(s) correlation are not well understood. In this study, we established a novel method to generate a partial trisomy mice using the mouse ES cells that harbor a single copy of human artificial chromosome (HAC), into which a small human DNA segment containing human chromosome 21 genes cloned in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) was recombined. The produced mice were found to maintain the HAC carrying human genes as a mini-chromosome, hence termed as a Trans-Mini-Chromosomal (TMC) mouse, and HAC was transmitted for more than twenty generations independent from endogenous mouse chromosomes. The three human transgenes including cystathionine β-synthase, U2 auxiliary factor and crystalline alpha A were expressed in several mouse tissues with various expression levels relative to mouse endogenous genes. The novel system is applicable to any of human and/or mouse BAC clones. Thus, the TMC mouse carrying a HAC with a limited number of genes would provide a novel tool for studying gene dosage effects involved in the DS molecular pathogenesis and the gene(s)-phenotype(s) correlation.
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