International project to describe functions of all mouse genes

11 October 2011

An international research project has been launched this month to develop one of the largest encyclopaedias of mammalian gene function.

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC)[1] will be compiling one of the largest Encyclopaedias of Life to describe the functions of the entire mouse genome.

The mouse is an important model organism used in research into human diseases, since 99% of genes in humans have counterparts in mice.

By understanding the respective functions in a mouse, scientists will be able to improve their understanding of how common diseases, such as Diabetes mellitus, are caused in humans.

With the German Mouse Clinic, the Helmholtz Zentrum München is the first institution worldwide to introduce the systematic analysis of disease models, which will now serve as the basis for the global project.

It is also the only German institution to date to be a partner of this international project, which involves 15 other renowned scientific facilities in the UK, the United States, Japan, Canada and China. Professor Martin Hrabĕ de Angelis of the Helmholtz Zentrum München is coordinating the Infrafrontier [2] project, which is funded by the European Commission.

The aim of the project is to phenotype and archive mouse models for human diseases. “The task facing us is too great for one country to take on by itself. For the first time, IPMC is offering us the chance to explore the function of all 23,000 mammalian genes and to make the data available to the scientific community,” Hrabĕ de Angelis says.

 “Our participation in the project underlines the fact that our research is internationally competitive.” The objective of the Helmholtz Zentrum München is to understand the mechanisms that cause common diseases and to develop new approaches with regard to their diagnosis, therapy and prevention.

Further information

1. IPMC is based on the successful EUMODIC project, which is funded by the European Commission (LSHG-CT-2006-037188). IMPC:

EUMODIC developed the necessary Standard Operating Procedures and IT systems to process the large amounts of data that are produced during the phenotyping of mouse models.

2. The aim of the Infrafrontier project, which is funded by the European Commission, is the systematic phenotyping and archiving of mouse models for human diseases. The project will be a platform for parts of the IPMC project. Infrafrontier:


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