One goal of biological investigation is to understand the organizing principles of natural variation. To accomplish this goal requires causal manipulations of non-traditional model species. Wild rodents offer particularly exciting opportunities to pursue such research. They are behaviorally diverse, yet allow researchers to use many of the same tools developed for model organism. Voles of the genus Microtusstand out as popular study subjects. They vary in mating system, social attachment, and other behaviors that cannot be studied in traditional laboratory species. This project addresses a current bottleneck in integrative research with voles: the lack of technologies to directly interrogate neurogenetic function. To address this, our team of three PIs will: 

  1. Optimize tools for germline manipulation of Microtusembryos
  2. Develop an intravenously deliverable genetic vector
  3. Test methods for post-mitotic gene manipulation in cells and regulatory circuits.