Recent advances in molecular genetics have produced many novel strategies for directing the expression of both functional and regulatory elements in transgenic mice. With the application of such approaches, the specific populations that comprise CNS networks can be both visualized and manipulated. Transgenic methods now range from the use of specific enhancer elements and large genomic regions assembled using BACs and PACs, to the use of gene targeting to a specific locus. In addition, the advent of transactivators and site-specific recombinases has provided unprecedented spatial and temporal control for directing expression in the CNS using a combination of appropriate alleles. As a result, the promise of being able to use transgenics to target specific neuronal populations is now being realized.
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