Large-scale functional genomics
MRC Harwell is involved in various ambitious, large-scale projects to investigate mouse functional genomics. These include both local projects and international collaborations, and provide a wide spread of mutant mouse lines for investigation by our research programmes.
The Harwell Ageing Screen is a large-scale project to study the genetics of ageing and age-related diseases. Faced with an ageing population, there is a pressing need to improve our understanding of these diseases so that new treatments can be developed. We select and breed mice with characteristics of these conditions to investigate the underlying genetics.
The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) is an international collaborative effort to make an 'encyclopedia' of phenotypes for every gene in the mouse genome. It seeks to determine the function of each gene by systematically documenting the phenotypes of knockout mice, and provides a free source of this information for the scientific community.
EUMODIC is a European consortium that was a forerunner to the IMPC. It carried out preliminary phenotyping of 500 mutant mouse lines, requiring the development and refinement of a set of standard operating procedures for high-throughput mouse phenotyping. The data from it was made available to the scientific community via the EuroPhenome database.
The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a recently developed, rapidly evolving technique for genetic manipulation. We intend to make extensive use of the promise this method shows, as it offers a quick and efficient method of generating mutant mice, and are currently pursuing initial exploratory research. With time, we envisage that it will become an essential part of our existing and future projects.