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UConn Lands $3.2M for Mouse Skeleton Gene Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Investigators at the University of Connecticut and the Jackson Laboratory will use a $3.2 million award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases to develop and study a mouse model to help them understand how bone diseases advance over the course of a lifetime, UConn said today.

An interdisciplinary group of researchers led by principal investigator David Rowe, a professor of reconstructive sciences at UConn Health Center's School of Dental Medicine, will conduct screening of knockout mice from Jackson Lab and will analyze phenotypic and other data to study the mouse genome for clues about osteoporosis and other skeletal diseases.

The project also will aim to add information about the mouse skeleton to the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP) – the international effort to knock out each gene in the mouse genome in order to understand their function – which did not include skeletal information in its initial list of biometric screenings.

Because the UConn investigators will be able to use knockout mice directly from a KOMP production line, the cost of screening these lines will be about one-fifth what it would be if they were performed on an ad hoc basis, according to the grant proposal.

The researchers intend to contribute data from their work to a database that is available to the skeletal biology research community. The investigators expect that this database will become a valuable resource for researchers seeking to query specific physiological phenotypes by enabling them to retrieve all of the knockout genes that have been mapped and linked to that query.