We provide the techniques and expertise to produce and maintain genetically altered animals and stem cell lines.
Genetic alteration is a powerful tool to help scientists analyse gene function and disease processes. We have 15 staff offering services grouped to two themes: techniques for producing genetically altered animals and techniques for maintaining rodents and aquatic species. Our team is co-led by Ian Rosewell who focuses on the production side and Sarah Hart-Johnson who focuses on the reproductive side.
We specialise in using CRISPR-Cas9 techniques to generate new genetically altered models, from the initial design to the final colony. We have facilities to derive, grow and transfect mouse embryonic stem cells. To create and edit strains, we use microinjection and electroporation techniques and we provide support across all these areas to support research at the Crick.
We also rederive animal strains, which involves transferring embryos into clean female mice to make sure they are free from infections. We import and export strains, manage breeding colonies and freeze rodent and aquatic embryos for later use. Freezing embryos allows us to keep strains for long periods of time without needing to maintain a breeding colony. We also monitor the microbiomes of the mice at the Crick.
The collection of microorganisms living in or on an animal, the microbiota, is increasingly being shown to have a considerable impact on animal phenotypes. The microbiome describes the genomes of these microorganisms, and we sequence the microbiomes of mice at the Crick every year. As well as testing and recording the data, we preserve samples to allow us to reconstitute historical microbiota.