Herein, a detailed protocol for a random mutation capture (RMC) assay to measure nuclear point mutation frequency in mouse tissue is described. This protocol is a simplified version of the original method developed for human tissue that is easier to perform, yet retains a high sensitivity of detection. In contrast to assays relying on phenotypic selection of reporter genes in transgenic mice, the RMC assay allows direct detection of mutations in endogenous genes in any mouse strain. Measuring mutation frequency within an intron of a transcribed gene, we show this assay to be highly reproducible. We analyzed mutation frequencies from the liver tissue of animals with a mutation within the intrinsic exonuclease domains of the two major DNA polymerases, δ and ε. These mice exhibited significantly higher mutation frequencies than did wild-type animals. A comparison with a previous analysis of these genotypes in Big Blue mice revealed the RMC assay to be more sensitive than the Big Blue assay for this application. As RMC does not require analysis of a particular gene, simultaneous analysis of mutation frequency at multiple genetic loci is feasible. This assay provides a versatile alternative to transgenic mouse models for the study of mutagenesis in vivo.
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