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The principal role of the placenta is the maintenance of pregnancy and promotion of fetal growth and viability. The use of transgenic rodents has greatly enhanced our understanding of placental development and function. However, embryonic lethality is often a confounding variable in determining whether a genetic modification adversely affected placental development. In these cases, it is beneficial to specifically manipulate the placental genome. The purpose of this review is to summarize available methodologies for specific genetic modification of the rodent placenta. By restricting genetic alterations to the trophoblast lineage, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of placental development that perhaps will lead to gene-targeted therapies to rescue irregular placentation in transgenic animals or in women at high-risk for placenta-associated pregnancy complications.