Multiple events of gene manipulation via in pouch electroporation in a marsupial model of mammalian forebrain development

Annalisa Paolino, Laura R. Fenlon, Peter Kozulin, Linda J. Richards, Rodrigo Suárez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background The technique of in utero electroporation has been widely used in eutherians, such as mice and rats, to investigate brain development by selectively manipulating gene expression in specific neuronal populations. A major challenge, however, is that surgery is required to access the embryos, affecting animal survival and limiting the number of times it can be performed within the same litter. New method Marsupials are born at an early stage of brain development as compared to eutherians. Forebrain neurogenesis occurs mostly postnatally, allowing electroporation to be performed while joeys develop attached to the teat. Here we describe the method of in pouch electroporation using the Australian marsupial fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata, Dasyuridae). Results In pouch electroporation is minimally invasive, quick, successful and anatomically precise. Moreover, as no surgery is required, it can be performed several times in the same individual, and littermates can undergo independent treatments. Comparison with existing method As compared to in utero electroporation in rodents, in pouch electroporation in marsupials offers unprecedented opportunities to study brain development in a minimally invasive manner. Continuous access to developing joeys during a protracted period of cortical development allows multiple and independent genetic manipulations to study the interaction of different systems during brain development. Conclusions In pouch electroporation in marsupials offers an excellent in vivo assay to study forebrain development and evolution. By combining developmental, functional and comparative approaches, this system offers new avenues to investigate questions of biological and medical relevance, such as the precise mechanisms of brain wiring and the organismic and environmental influences on neural circuit formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Animal model
  • Brain development
  • Brain evolution
  • Electroporation
  • Neuronal labelling
  • Transgenesis


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