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Open Access Short report

Gene-targeted embryonic stem cells: real-time PCR assay for estimation of the number of neomycin selection cassettes

Cecilia Mancini1, Erika Messana1, Emilia Turco13, Alessandro Brussino1 and Alfredo Brusco12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Genetics, Biology and Biochemistry, University of Torino, Torino, Italy

2 S.C.D.U. Medical Genetics, A.O.U. San Giovanni Battista, Torino, Italy

3 Molecular Biotechnology Center, Torino, Italy

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Biological Procedures Online 2011, 13:10  doi:10.1186/1480-9222-13-10

Published: 28 October 2011

Abstract

In the preparation of transgenic murine ES cells it is important to verify the construct has a single insertion, because an ectopic neomycin phosphortransferase positive selection cassette (NEO) may cause a position effect. During a recent work, where a knockin SCA28 mouse was prepared, we developed two assays based on Real-Time PCR using both SYBR Green and specific minor groove binder (MGB) probes to evaluate the copies of NEO using the comparative delta-delta Ct method versus the Rpp30 reference gene.

We compared the results from Southern blot, routinely used to quantify NEO copies, with the two Real-Time PCR assays. Twenty-two clones containing the single NEO copy showed values of 0.98 ± 0.24 (mean ± 2 S.D.), and were clearly distinguishable from clones with two or more NEO copies.

This method was found to be useful, easy, sensitive and fast and could substitute for the widely used, but laborious Southern blot method.