NIH launches effort to place more knockout mice in public repositories

BETHESDA, Md. As part of its ongoing effort to build a public, genome-wide library of "knockout" mouse models for the study of human disease, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today awarded $800,000 to two public mouse repositories to acquire genetically engineered mouse lines not yet widely accessible to researchers.

In the two decades since recombinant DNA technology was first used to produce lines of mice in which specific genes have been disrupted, or "knocked out," such mice have proven to be one of the most powerful tools available to study the function of genes and to create animal models of human disease. Researchers have generated knockout mice to serve as useful models of human diseases such as cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and even obesity.

"NIH is committed to making knockout mouse models more widely accessible to the biomedical research community," said National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Director James Battey, M.D., Ph.D., who is chairman of the Trans-NIH Mouse Initiative. "Getting these valuable models into the hands of a wide range of researchers will serve to accelerate our efforts to develop new strategies for understanding and treating human disease."

Once researchers publish papers describing their work, NIH policy requires that mouse lines created through NIH-funded research be made available to the scientific community. However, the obligation to maintain mouse lines and supply them to others can be burdensome for small laboratories and individual researchers. To facilitate sharing, the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) supports a network of public repositories that archive and distribute mouse strains. The network includes the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers (MMRRC) at the University of California, Davis; the University of Missouri/Harlan facility in Columbia; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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