Research for the project to continue mapping the genome of lab mice will all be conducted in Maine.

The National Institutes of Health will award a total of $28.3 million to The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor over five years to fund phase two of a genome-mapping project involving lab mice.

All of the work will be conducted in Maine, Jackson spokeswoman Joyce Peterson said Thursday.

Jackson professor and Janeway Distinguished Chair Robert Braun is the principal investigator on the research project, known as the Knockout Mouse Production and Phenotyping Project, along with co-investigators Stephen Murray and Karen Svenson.

“Mice and humans share approximately 20,000 genes, but scientists have little or no data for more than half of these genes,” Braun said in a news release.

Scientists around the world have been working together since 2006 to generate a targeted “knockout” mutation for every gene in the mouse genome, he said. “Deleting individual genes in this way provides valuable clues to the genes’ function.”


Jackson and two other NIH-funded centers are part of a worldwide effort, the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, to genetically and systematically determine the function of every mammalian gene, one gene at a time, Braun said.

The consortium is engaged in the immense task of producing and collecting physiological data from the mice. Mouse models of genes with common functionality between mice and humans can lead to new models of human disease, which are useful for drug screening, preclinical studies and deeper understanding of biological and disease mechanisms, according to the release.

Under the new grant, the laboratory will take advantage of powerful new gene editing technology to generate, breed, cryopreserve and clinically assess the health and well-being of 1,000 lines of mice, the release said. The research team will work with the scientific community to select genes of exceptional interest, genes for which little is presently known, and genes predicted to function in select pathways, it said.

For each of the new mouse lines, Jackson researchers will assess body weight and composition, metabolic and physiological parameters, and behavioral and cognitive function at several age points, and make both the mice and the resulting data available to the worldwide scientific community prior to publication.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor with a National Cancer Institute- designated cancer center in Sacramento, California, and a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Connecticut. It employs 1,800 staff members.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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