The Cre/loxP site-specific recombination system combined with embryonic stem cell-mediated technologies has greatly expanded our capability to address normal and disease development in mammals using genetic approaches. The success of this emerging technology hinges on the production of Cre-expressing transgenic lines that provide cell type-, tissue-, or developmental stage-specific recombination between loxP sites placed in the genome. Here we describe and characterize the production of a double-reporter mouse line that provides a convenient and reliable readout of Cre recombinase activity. Throughout all embryonic and adult stages, the transgenic animal expresses the lacZ reporter gene before Cre-mediated excision occurs. Cre excision, however, removes the lacZ gene, allowing expression of the second reporter, the human alkaline phosphatase gene. This double-reporter transgenic line is able to indicate the occurrence of Cre excision in an extremely widespread manner from early embryonic to adult lineages. It will be a valuable reagent for the increasing number of investigators taking advantage of the powerful tools provided by the Cre/loxP site-specific recombinase system.
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