NIH Deltagen and Lexicon Knockout Mice and Phenotypic Data
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
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 www.genome.gov/12514551.
NIH Project Officer:
Colin Fletcher, Ph. D.