The National Institutes of Health has awarded a four-year, $4.8 million grant to the University of California, Davis, to establish a repository for the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP). The repository will store, archive and make available to researchers up to 10,000 types of mice created through the project.
"The repository will ensure that these valuable, highly regarded animal models -- knockout mice -- will be available for studies," said Kent Lloyd, professor and associate dean for research at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, associate director of the Mouse Biology Program and principal investigator of the KOMP Repository grant.
From embryonic stem cells, researchers can derive and breed mice carrying a "knockout" of any specific gene. Such mice have become a valuable tool in a wide range of biomedical research.
At UC Davis, "This project builds on our reputation as a resource for genetically altered mice required in studies of human and animal diseases," said Bennie Osburn, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "We are confident that the use of these mouse models will allow scientists to progress more quickly to understand and address these diseases."
As part of the grant, the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) will store, archive and distribute the DNA vectors used to create the knockout mice.
In September 2006, the NIH awarded a set of cooperative agreements, totaling up to $52 million throughout five years, to launch the Knockout Mouse Project. The goal of this program is to build a comprehensive and publicly available resource of knockout mutations in the mouse genome.
At that time, a consortium including UC Davis, the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, received a grant of about $23 million to create about 5,000 mouse embryonic stem cell lines in which specific genes have been disabled or "knocked out." A comparable grant was awarded to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Tarrytown, N.Y. Smaller grants were awarded to The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and to the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada.
The first knockout mice were created in 1988, but the mice created so far only cover about a quarter of the mouse genome. Alongside other efforts in Asia, Europe and North America, the NIH knockout mouse project aims to complete that effort within five years.
The repository at UC Davis will collect, archive and store these mice, mostly in the form of embryonic stem cells, and make them available to researchers. The four-year grant covers the establishment and the first years of operating the repository. After that, the facility is expected to become financially self-sustaining through user fees.
The UC Davis Mouse Biology Program already maintains a similar repository as part of the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers network, also funded by the NIH. The regional network accepts all kinds of mutant and genetically modified mice from researchers, and makes them available to other laboratories that wish to study them. The new repository will contain only mice created through the Knockout Mouse Project.
Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Lloyd, School of Veterinary Medicine, 530-754-6687, email@example.com