July 18, 2001 Bethesda, Md. — The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the official opening of a Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers (MMRRCs) network. This network will function as a one-stop shop for the U.S. biomedical research community to donate and acquire mutant mouse models. The MMRRC network is now accepting genetic mouse strains to its collection and invites investigators who have created such models to donate them to the network for broad dissemination upon request by other investigators who will use them in research of human health, disease, and treatments. It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 strains of mutant mice that have been created by turning on and off particular genes or by inserting foreign genes into the mouse genome.
"When numerous researchers have access to a shared national resource, such as the MMRRC network," says NCRR Director Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, "the effectiveness of that resource is maximized relative to its monetary cost and scientific impact." She adds, "Shared resources allow scientists to integrate diverse research expertise, rapidly and effectively study emerging health problems, address complex research queries, and pursue unexpected research opportunities."
The MMRRC network currently includes four repository-distribution facilities located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the University of California at Davis; Taconic Farms in New York; and Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Missouri.
The MMRRC network is electronically linked through an NCRR-sponsored MMRRC Informatics Coordinating Center (ICC) to function as one facility. The ICC, which is located at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, provides database and other informatics support to the MMRRCs to give the research community a single entry point to the network through the MMRRC Web site at www.mmrrc.org. This site provides information about submitting candidate strains. By late 2001, the site will also provide detailed phenotypic and genotypic information to researchers interested in searching the network for maintained strains, ordering mice from the facilities, and registering to receive strains being developed.
Generally, each MMRRC facility is equipped to cryopreserve embryos or gametes; rederive strains as needed; and characterize the genetic and phenotypic makeup of the mutants so that models are validated and may optimally serve as models of human disease. Efficient facility systems provide genetic quality control and disease safeguards. The MMRRCs offer expertise in the biology of laboratory mice — covering areas of cryobiology, genetics, comparative pathology, behavioral science, and infectious disease. In addition, each center focuses on specific research areas such as vascular and cancer biology, endocrinology, or neurobiological sciences.
NCRR is this nation's leading Federal sponsor of research resources that enable scientific advances and discoveries in many areas of biomedical research. NCRR-supported research resources provide the scientific research community with access to a diverse array of research technologies, instrumentation, specialized basic and clinical research facilities, animal models (mammalian and nonmammalian), genetic stocks, and biomaterials, including cell lines, tissues, and organs.
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