Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s courses have long been tremendous community resources, training generation after generation of scientists in the latest cutting-edge techniques. The highly competitive nature of the courses means that not everyone who wants to attend can do so, and one of our missions at CSH Protocols is to help disseminate course material to the scientific community at large. The course instructors have been generously providing CSH Protocols with articles based on their lectures and laboratories, some of which you can see collected here.

November’s issue of CSH Protocols features several methods from the renowned Molecular Embryology of the Mouse course. This long-running course (25-plus years) has long been the absolute standard for training mouse biologists and has resulted in three editions of the well-known manual, Manipulating the Mouse Embryo. What’s interesting about the course as of late, is that the focus has shifted away from just the generation of transgenic and knock-out animals, and more towards the analysis of phenotypes in those animals. November’s featured articles present methods for analyzing specific tissues in the mouse.
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Isolation, Culture and Differentiation of Progenitor Cells from the Central Nervous System, or, as it’s more colloquially known, the neurosphere assay, is contributed by Larysa Pevny’s lab at the University of North Carolina. The neurosphere assay allows one to identify neural progenitor cells as well as to determine both their self-renewal capacity and their ability to generate three primary cell types of the nervous system: neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Note that Larysa will be heading up this year’s mouse course.

The lab of course instructor Blanche Capel from Duke University has written up our second featured protocol for November, Preparing Recombinant Gonad Organ Cultures. It can be useful to assay migration between any two adjacent tissues during development. This protocol assays cell migration between the developing gonad and mesonephros using tissue recombination combined with an organ culture technique.

Like all of our monthly featured articles, these protocols are freely available to both subscribers and non-subscribers.