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ENU DNA archive

DNA from mutant mice in our ENU chemical mutagenesis screens, including the Harwell Ageing Screen, is stored in our ENU DNA archive. Visiting scientists can access our gene-driven mutation detection facility and DNA from the archive. Please contact us to enquire about this service.

About the archive

We have DNA from over 10,000 mutant mouse lines stored in the archive, complemented by a parallel frozen spern archive. These samples are taken from individual G1 ENU mutagenised mice.

MRC Harwell has been at the forefront of studies of gene function using both phenotype-driven and genotype-driven ENU mutagenesis. Chemical mutagenesis with ENU produces a wide range of possible functional changes, including hypomorphs, antimorphs and gain-of-function or neomorphs. This complements and expands upon the typical result of gene inactivation by homologous recombination (knockout mice), which usually results in non-functional or null alleles. These additional alleles can be invaluable in revealing previously unknown aspects of gene function. 

The mutation detection process

Visiting scientists can use our mutation detection facility to screen the archive for mutations in their gene of interest, identify relevant mutant lines and request the rederivation of specific mouse lines by IVF for further study.

Mutations are detected using melt curve analysis of PCR products on the Idaho Technologies LightScanner. PCR optimisation plays a critical part in this process. This system analyses only one DNA fragment between 150-600bp at a time, but its sensitivity allows four DNA templates to be amplified in the same reaction and run together. The LightScanner has allowed us to rapidly reduce both the time and costs taken to perform gene-driven screens, meaning we now have the capacity to offer visiting scientists access to our mutation detection facility. It is very simple to use, but requires specialised training to analyse the results. This training is provided as part of the service.