Saving Science by Saving Mice

June 04, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 4 minutes

For your weekly Biotech news, Lab.Equipment has sourced this notable article from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) for you:

As labs worldwide halt research, a Jackson Laboratory team is reaching out to help.

Rob Taft’s job is saving lab mouse strains. As senior services program manager at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), Taft ensures that valuable strains of laboratory mice are conserved as cryopreserved (frozen) embryos and sperm, to enable scientific continuity and that years – sometimes decades – of valuable research won’t be lost. His team’s work enables JAX to maintain a collection of more than 11,000 strains to help researchers find the right mouse model for their research.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made rescuing mice and mouse strains an emergency mission. “The current situation is impacting research across the country and around the world as we all implement measures to slow COVID-19,” Taft says. “The adoption of physical distancing and shelter-in-place orders means that many research activities are having to be suspended.”

Organizations using animals are required to have disaster plans to ensure the humane treatment of animals and continuity of research, he notes. “However, the current situation is creating concern that novel mouse strains that may hold the key to new treatments for disease could be lost to science.”

JAX has mounted mouse rescue efforts in the past, such as in Houston in 2001 following flooding caused by Tropical Storm Allison, and in the New York City area in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but never before on this nationwide and even international scale.

In response to this situation, JAX, a nonprofit research institution with a special role in maintaining and distributing genetically defined mouse models to the worldwide scientific community, is mounting an extraordinary rescue effort to help scientists facing shutdowns.

“As we saw how the situation was evolving, we formed a team to focus on this and began developing plans to help the scientific community protect strains critical to research,” Ta... Read more at the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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