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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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The Consortium That Will Launch 5000 Mice
29 September 2011 12:23 pm
A global consortium of mouse genetics centers kicked off a project today that aims to create and test 5000 strains of knockout mice over the next 5 years.
The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) is the next phase of an effort started 5 years ago to build a huge, shared resource for biomedical research: Mouse embryonic stem cells in which researchers have “knocked out” each of the more than 20,000 specific mouse genes that code for proteins. By growing mice from these cells, researchers can gain insight into the role that the missing genes play in health and disease.
The new phenotyping effort will aim to probe the anatomy, development, physiology, behavior, and disease traits of 5000 of these mouse lines by the end of 2016.
Half of the work will be funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Project, which announced today cooperative agreements totaling about $102 million over 5 years with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the University of California, Davis, which will collaborate with other institutions; and with the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Another $10 million award for a data coordination center and public database went to the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, United Kingdom, which will work with the U.K.’s Sanger Institute and MRC Harwell.
The other half of the phenotyping will be done by about a dozen institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan, China, and Australia. The consortium will use a battery of clinical tests that have been pilot-tested by a European Commission-funded project, which also worked out matters such as the logistics of large-scale breeding, says mouse geneticist Steve Brown, director of MRC Harwell and chair of the IMPC steering committee.
Although phenotypic data for many mouse strains already exist, "we're starting fresh," Brown says. "There are many advantages to looking at all of the mutants again."
Brown says many researchers are already requesting the mouse stem cells and predicts interest will grow as phenotyping data becomes available. One big challenge will be sharing data with the broader community "in a form that can map onto human disease in an easily intuitive way," Brown says. The hope is that the knockout data will be used widely—by everyone from academic researchers to drug companies—and that it will "have transformative impact," Brown says. If all goes well, the consortium may move on to phenotype 12,000 more mouse lines.