Gene-trapping is a valuable tool that uses random mutagenesis to create hypomorphic or null alleles by
insertion of exogenous DNA.
Since numerous public and private projects have been performing gene trapping over the last few years,
it is natural that large overlaps exist and some vectors produce better knock-outs than others due to
their insertion site.
Considering the high need to develop a comprehensive database that would include both public and
private data to provide public access to this essential biological resource, we developed UniTrap, a
curated collection of all the trapped ES cell clones, collected from public and private databases.
We have developed a bioinformatics pipeline to automate the identification and characterization of
trapped genes starting from their transcriptional sequence tags.
We process gene trap sequence tags from ES cell clones to generate ‘UniTraps’, i.e. distinct collections
of unambiguous insertions at the same subgenic region of annotated genes (RefSeq and Ensembl genes).
The UniTrap resource contains data relative to well-known trapped genes. We aim to provide the wet lab
researchers with a comprehensive, regularly updated database and curated tools for
(i) identifying and comparing the clones carrying a trap into the genes of interest,
(ii) evaluating the severity of the mutation to the protein function in each independent trapping event, and
(iii) supplying complete information to perform PCR, RT-PCR and restriction experiments to verify the clone
and identify the exact point of vector insertion