The Francis Crick Institute
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Rodent models in Down syndrome research: impact and future opportunities

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-17, 11:46 authored by Yann Herault, Jean M Delabar, Elizabeth MC Fisher, Victor LJ Tybulewicz, Eugene Yu, Veronique Brault
Down syndrome is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21. To date, a multiplicity of mouse models with Down-syndrome-related features has been developed to understand this complex human chromosomal disorder. These mouse models have been important for determining genotype-phenotype relationships and identification of dosage-sensitive genes involved in the pathophysiology of the condition, and in exploring the impact of the additional chromosome on the whole genome. Mouse models of Down syndrome have also been used to test therapeutic strategies. Here, we provide an overview of research in the last 15 years dedicated to the development and application of rodent models for Down syndrome. We also speculate on possible and probable future directions of research in this fast-moving field. As our understanding of the syndrome improves and genome engineering technologies evolve, it is necessary to coordinate efforts to make all Down syndrome models available to the community, to test therapeutics in models that replicate the whole trisomy and design new animal models to promote further discovery of potential therapeutic targets.