The Jackson Laboratory Mutagenesis Project

JanCzek janczek at
Tue Mar 21 17:32:08 EST 2000

The Jackson Laboratory launches large-scale mutagenesis project.  The
Jackson Laboratory (TJL) has recently launched a program to systematically
collect a large number of mouse mutants to provide new models relevant to
the study of human neurological diseases.  TJL’s Neuroscience Mutagenesis
Facility will generate, identify and characterize new mutants in a broad
range areas including motor function, epilepsy, neural-based obesity,
hearing, vision, learning, ingestive behaviors, affective disorders,
sensorimotor gating, substance abuse and anxiety.
As part of this program, supervisor Dr. Kevin Seburn, approached Columbus
Instruments in February, 1999 to develop an automated monitoring system for
use in the initial detection of deviant mice.  The result of this
collaboration was a state-of-the-art live-in cage (dubbed “CCMS” or
Comprehensive Cage Monitoring System) that allows 24-hour, automated,
non-invasive collection of several physiological and behavioral parameters
simultaneously (activity, food and water consumption, metabolic
performance).  The proposal for the development of these cages as an
automated screening tool was based on the simple premise that the detection
of aberrations in any complex system is best achieved by simultaneously
examining several parameters. To test this notion a variety of known but
subtle, non-visible mutant mice were placed in the monitoring cages.  The
data were then compared to controls using a specially developed statistical
algorithm that exploited the multiple measures provided by CCMS.  Initial
results were very positive and showed that at least six different types of
mutants were successfully detected using CCMS data.  The use of CCMS as a
tool for initial mutant detection in combination with more focused secondary
screens promises to be an efficient means of characterizing important new
mouse models for study of neurological disease.
The Jackson Laboratory, founded in 1929, is a world leader in mammalian
genetics research. With approximately 1,000 employees, the nonprofit,
independent facility has a mission to improve the quality of human life
through discoveries arising from its own genetic research and by enabling
the research and education of others.  Further information on The Jackson
Laboratory can be obtained at
Information on Columbus Instruments equipment used in this project is
available at:

Jan Czekajewski, Ph.D.
janczek at

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