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Trans-NIH Mouse Initiatives

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Deltagen and Lexicon Knockout Mice and Phenotypic Data


The NIH Deltagen and Lexicon Knockout Mice and Phenotypic Data Resource

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has signed contracts with Deltagen Inc. of San Carlos , Calif. , and Lexicon Genetics Incorporated of The Woodlands, Texas , to provide NIH and its scientific partners with access to 251 lines of knockout mice that have been extensively characterized. This resource 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. The contracts also provide for the opportunity for NIH to obtain up to 1500 additional mouse lines and phenotypic data over the next three years, pending available funds.

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.

The new contracts provide NIH with irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free licenses to use and distribute to academic and non-profit researchers these lines of knockout mice. The mouse lines, which will be stored in the form of frozen embryos, frozen sperm and frozen embryonic stem (ES) cells, will be delivered to NIH-funded mouse repositories that supply mice to universities, medical schools and research labs all over the world. When researchers express interest in obtaining a certain knockout mouse line, the repositories will send them live mice, frozen embryos, sperm, and/or ES cells, so they can study the mice in their own labs. All data on the mice will be made available to researchers worldwide without restriction in publicly available databases on the Web. This resource will be available for a nominal fee which will be used to cover the cost of handling, shipping and replenishing the stock.

Under the license agreements with Deltagen and Lexicon, researchers who receive the knockout mice lines through NIH are free to publish any results from research involving the line and also to seek patent or other intellectual property protection for any of the inventions or discoveries resulting from such research.

In order to build upon the acquisition of knockout mice available from the private sector, the NIH in September issued a set of requests for applications to establish a Knockout Mouse Project. The ambitious goal of this trans-NIH program is to produce a comprehensive resource of mouse mutants in which every gene in the mouse genome has been knocked out. The resource will serve to further the value of the mouse as a powerful and important tool in the study of human health and disease.

For more information on the knockout mice and data obtained, go to list of available knockout mice . For more information on what knockout mice are, how they are made and what they are used for, go to

NIH Project Officer:

Colin Fletcher, Ph. D.