The use of genetics to study the development of the telencephalon and derivatives such as the cerebral cortex has been limited. The telencephalon begins to form midway through gestation, and targeted mutations in genes suspected of playing roles in its development often lead to early phenotypes that preclude analysis of their role at later stages. This problem can be circumvented using a Cre/loxP recombination system. A mouse line was produced in which cre was targeted to the Foxg1 (BF-1) locus, a gene expressed specifically in the telencephalon and discrete head structures. Crosses between Foxg1-Cre mice and three separate loxP reporter mice generated embryos with recombination patterns matching that expected from the normal pattern of Foxg1 expression. Recombination occurs invariably in the telencephalon, anterior optic vesicle, otic vesicle, facial and head ectoderm, olfactory epithelium, mid-hindbrain junction, and pharyngeal pouches. Recombination in some animals also occurs less efficiently in tissues not known to express Foxg1. We show that the genetic background of the parental mice and the loxP target allele can each contribute to differences in the exact pattern of recombination. Collectively, these data show that Foxg1-Cre mice should be useful in the deletion or ectopic expression of any floxed target gene in a Foxg1-like pattern.
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