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KOMP 2 and IMPC Annual Consortium Meeting Washington, DC
Members of the IMPC met this week in Washington, DC at NIH headquarters to reflect on the accomplishments of the last five years and look ahead to the next five. The meeting marks the beginning of a new five year grant from the National Institutes of Health of $94 million to the KOMP (Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Program) partners. Of this $12.48 m goes to the MPI2 informatics consortium consisting of EMBL-EBI, the MRC Harwell Institute, and Queen Mary University of London.
We share more than 90% of our genes with mice, yet for more than half of these genes very little or no data is available. By inactivating a gene in a mouse and collecting physiological data (phenotyping), valuable insight can be gained about the function of that gene. Since the launch of the KOMP2 in 2011 the phenotyping information for more than 3,000 protein-coding genes has been generated and made freely available online to the scientific community. This initial work confirms that about one third of these genes are essential for life, and has provided phenotyping information for many genes with unknown function, helping to piece together gaps in our understanding of the genome. The data allows scientists to research a gene of interest and provides crucial insight into the underlying causes for rare and common diseases.
The new grant will allow IMPC centres across the world to take advantage of CRISPR/Cas9 – powerful new gene editing technology which enables genes to be altered in mouse zygotes more accurately and efficiently than was previously possible.
The objectives of the grant are to generate at least 600 null-mutant mouse lines per year, with an overall goal of 3,000 lines for the five year period. A late onset phenotyping pipeline is to be introduced in this phase, as recent evidence has emerged that phenotyping mice when they are older can reveal novel phenotypes. The Data Coordination Centre will continue to develop standardised protocols for phenotyping tests and improve the process of data acquisition through to availability and integration online to improve the range of data available to users worldwide.
DTCC Consortium = The University of California Davis (UCD; lead institution), The Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP) in Toronto, the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), and Charles River Laboratories International Inc (CRL)
Baylor College of Medicine and the MRC Harwell Institute
The Jackson Laboratory