Transgenic mice are most commonly produced by microinjection of DNA into the pronuclei of fertilized single-cell mouse embryos. Transgene integration is random, with multiple copies of the transgene typically integrating into a single chromosomal locus in the embryo.  If integration takes place prior to the first nuclear division, then all cells will carry the transgene. After injection, the eggs are surgically transferred to the oviducts of time-mated pseudopregnant foster mothers, generated by mating females with vasectomized males. The offspring resulting from injected eggs may or may not carry the transgene. On average, about 10-20% of the mice born will test positive for the transgene. The mice that do carry the transgene are called founders.

Service Description

  • purchase and housing of mice used to produce embryos for injection
  • superovulation of embryo donors and mating with stud males
  • creation of pseudopregnant foster mothers by mating outbred ICR females with vasectomized males and checking for vaginal plugs the morning of injection
  • harvesting of embryos from euthanized donors
  • dilution of the client’s transgene DNA with injection buffer and injection of this solution into one pronucleus of each fertilized embryo
  • surgically transfer all embryos that survive the injection process into the oviducts of pseudopregnant foster mothers
  • monitoring of foster mothers before and after birth of pups
  • weaning, ear-tagging, and tail-tipping pups
  • provide tail biopsies to the client for genotyping
  • arrange and assist with the transfer or shipment of transgenic mice to the investigator’s mouse colony

Transgene Construct Preparation

  • The investigator should provide 30 µl or more of transgene DNA fragment at a minimum  concentration of 50 ng/µl in filtered microinjection buffer (10 mM Tris, pH 7.4; 0.1 mM EDTA).
  • The construct should be designed so that the transgene insert can be purified away from plasmid backbone by gel purification.
  • BAC constructs can be injected in circular form or linearized.
  • The cleanliness of the construct is of utmost importance. It should be absolutely free of any phenol, chloroform, ethidium bromide, high salt and ethanol. Even trace amounts will quickly lyse the injected embryos or interfere with the development of the implanted embryos.


  • The investigator is responsible for genotyping all pups.
  • The investigator should establish a PCR protocol that can reliably detect your transgene at the single copy level when mixed with wild-type mouse DNA.

Mouse Strain

The standard background strain used for the embryos is B6C3 (C57BL/6 x C3H). Embryos are produced by mating B6C3 females to C57BL/6 males, generating potential founder animals which are 75% C57BL/6 and 25% C3H. Other strains can be used as egg donors, but these will require additional fees. Some strains do not respond to superovulating hormones and/or have poor quality embryos and should be avoided if possible.

Prices and Guarantees

  • We guarantee that at least 70 injected embryos will be implanted into pseudopregnant recipients, or 2 founders produced, whichever comes first. The construct DNA provided by the investigator must be clean and non-toxic.
  • In the event that an alternate host embryo strain is required, the additional costs incurred from purchasing and housing a special strain of stud males, will be charged to the investigator.  The investigator will also pay the difference in purchase price between the cost of B6C3 females typically used, and the cost of the embryo host strain selected.  No guarantee will be made as to the number of injected embryos transferred, due to strain variability in embryo production. 
  • C57BL/6 embryos are available at no additional cost per injection day, but without guarantee.  This strain is less efficient, therefore three injection sessions are typically required to achieve the same results as one session of B6C3 injection.
  • The investigator pays per diem cage charges beginning on the day of embryo transfer into pseudopregnant females.
  • Cancellation of injection within two weeks of the scheduled date will result in a $500 fee to cover the cost of embryo donors, hormones, and technician time.
  • Click here for current rates.

Reserve a Pronuclear Microinjection Session

To order a pronuclear microinjection session, go to our PRTS Forms page. Fill out a “Request for Pronuclear Microinjection” form and e-mail it to Bob Hunter Be sure to include a current budget number and your IACUC animal use protocol number.

DNA constructs may be delivered to the Health Sciences Building, room T-140D, during normal business hours. Ask for Serina Tsang