The Jackson Laboratory awarded Japanese patent on process to effectively 'freeze' cumulative genetic drift in mice

Date: Nov. 14, 2012
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Bar Harbor, Maine—The Jackson Laboratory has secured a Japanese patent for its process to prevent cumulative random mutations from altering the genetic profile, and thus the physiological characteristics, of its inbred mouse strains.

The Laboratory holds two U.S. patents, awarded in 2009 and 2012, in addition to patents awarded in China, Singapore and Australia, for its Genetic Stability Program (GSP). The technology uses the process of cryopreserving (freezing and maintaining in a liquid nitrogen-chilled environment) specially prepared stocks of mouse embryos, eggs and sperm. 

The GSP allows The Jackson Laboratory to push the genetic "reset button" on any inbred mouse strain, but especially on high-demand strains such as the famous C57BL/6J "Black 6," by refreshing the production colonies every five generations from the pedigreed, cryopreserved material.

Michael V. Wiles, Ph.D., Jackson’s senior director of technology development and evaluation and co-inventor, notes, "The advent of the GSP allows the production of inbred mice to a defined and unchanging standard. This is of growing importance to researchers worldwide using these vital genetic tools."

As part of its mission, the nonprofit Laboratory distributes genetically defined mice to the worldwide scientific community. The GSP, first developed in 2003, helps the Laboratory maintain genetic continuity, effectively slowing genetic drift of its major inbred mouse strains.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,400. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.


Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

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