Disaster Planning and Preparedness

Disasters happen. Protect your strains from unforeseen circumstances with good planning and JAX Cryopreservation and Recovery Services.

Think your risk of losing your strain is insignificant? Think again!

  • $100,000 — the cost to develop a single genetically engineered mouse strain
  • 6 to 18 months — the time to develop a genetically engineered mouse strain
  • $6,000 — the minimum yearly cost to maintain a genetically engineered strain
  • Immeasurable — the scientific discoveries that hinge upon the availability of these mice

Many institutions fail to consider the possibility of losing their research mice to natural disasters (flood, fire, power outage) or more subtle threats to mouse colonies such as a disease outbreaks, breeding cessation, genetic drift, breeding errors, etc. However, when you stop and think about the time, money and energy invested in creating novel mouse models and the potential discoveries they may make possible, finding a means to protect them seems like a clear priority.

New breakthroughs in reproductive technologies at The Jackson Laboratory make it possible for you to cryopreserve and recover mouse strains quickly, reliably, and cost-effectively. You can now use cryopreservation as a central component of a disaster aversion and recovery plan.

Protecting your investments from disaster

Disasters are cyclical events, and animal facilities are always in at least one of the four phases of a disaster: preparation, mitigation, response, or recovery. This cyclical nature implies that planning does not end with completing a written disaster plan, but is in fact an ongoing effort. JAX® Services can help in all phases of this cycle:


  • Identify how many novel strains your facility maintain.
  • Make sure each strain has proper nomenclature and that strain information is backed up off-site.


Have your strains cryopreserved using a method that meets these standards

  • Reliable, proven, and scalable
  • Recoverability tested for each strain for quality assurance (and peace of mind)
  • Storage of at least some cryopreserved samples off-site
  • Storage of sample information in two or more places
  • Secure storage of samples in automatically filled and continuously monitored cryopreservation tanks


  • Immediately after a disaster, relocate surviving mice to a safe facility, where they can be inventoried and assessed.
  • If you are limited on vivarium space, ship the strains that have not yet been cryopreserved to a facility that can cryopreserve them.
  • To minimize the impact to your ongoing research, create a prioritized list of strains to recover from cryopreserved stock.


A good recovery plan meets the following requirements:

  • Ensures that samples stored off-site can be recovered to a specified and opportunistic pathogen free (SOPF) status.
  • Ensures that mice can be bred for you while your facilities are being restored.
  • Ensures that mice will be recovered using well-defined, genetically stable inbred mouse strains as oocyte donors.

JAX® Cryopreservation and Recovery Services meets all these conditions:

  • A proven and reliable Sperm Cryo Service (more than 7,500 strains cryopreserved and recovered on more than 50 inbred backgrounds)
  • Quality control checks (IVF recovery to two-cell embryos) for all strains
  • Samples stored in three tanks (auto filled, monitored) in two secure locations
  • All mice rederived to an SOPF health status, using gold standard, genetically stable J mice as oocyte donors
  • Extensive resources to quickly and cost-effectively recover large numbers of cryopreserved strains
  • Breeding services that breed mice for you in high barrier mouse facilities until your vivarium is ready to resume operations