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A 'Double Whammy'

Another mouse genetics center in the UK is to shutter, the Guardian reports.

The Medical Research Council has informed staff at the Harwell Institute that its Mammalian Genetics Unit, which studies gene function and disease, is to close upon the recommendation of an internal strategy board, it says. Some 125 researchers and 40 support staff work in the MGU, the Guardian adds, noting that the board also recommended that the institute leave the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium.

"We're perplexed," Steve Brown, the director of the MGU, tells the Guardian. "We don't understand the decision."

Last month, the Wellcome Sanger Institute announced it would be closing its animal facility, which was built in 2006. It said that advances in the field like cell lines and organoids were taking the place of animal models.

Brown tells the Guardian that the MGU closure in addition to the winding down of the Sanger's facility is a "double whammy" for mouse research. "We have to be extremely careful that we do not undermine what is a critical area of biomedical science," he adds. "This is a major threat to UK science and a weakening of our position at the forefront of genomic and precision medicine."