The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced contracts that will give researchers unprecedented access to two private collections of knockout mice, providing valuable models for the study of human disease and laying the groundwork for a public, genome-wide library of knockout mice.
Under terms of three-year contracts jointly funded by 19 NIH institutes, centers and offices, Deltagen Inc. of San Carlos, Calif., and Lexicon Genetics Incorporated of The Woodlands, Texas will provide NIH and its scientific partners with access to extensively characterized lines of mice in which a specific gene has been disrupted, or “knocked out.” In the first year of the contract, NIH will expend about $10 million to acquire about 250 lines of knockout mice.
For each mouse line, the contractors will provide not only the mouse line itself, but also detailed, objective data on the impact of the specific gene deletion on the mouse’s phenotype, which includes appearance, health, fitness, behavior, ability to reproduce, and radiological and microscopic data. Such comprehensive information on such a large group of mice has never been available to public sector researchers, and is expected to greatly accelerate efforts to explore gene functions in health and disease.
For more information on what knockout mice are, how they are made and what they are used for, go to http://www.genome.gov/12514551.
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