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) 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
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
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  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
“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.
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: