Featured Article December 02, 2019

Exploring JAX space missions through the years

The Jackson Laboratory has been part of many space missions over the years, including the current Mighty Mice mission.

Here are some of the more notable space adventures JAX has been a part of.

2001

BioServe Space Technologies, a nonprofit NASA-sponsored Commercial Space Center at the University of Colorado, coordinated experiments with commercial sponsor Amgen Inc. to study the effects of microgravity on bone loss in C57BL/6J mice from JAX. The mice joined the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor for a 12-day mission to the ISS.

2010

The Space Shuttle Discovery carried 16 "Pep Boy" mice from congenic JAX Mice strain B6.SJL-Ptprc Pepc /BoyJ. The mice were part of a mouse immunology study designed to help scientists better understand the effects of microgravity on cell growth and the immune system.  Biochemist and former shuttle astronaut Millie Hughes-Fulford of the University of California, San Francisco, designed the study.

2015

Microgravity is known to cause bone resorption as soon as five days after liftoff, with serious implications for astronauts’ bone loss on longer missions. In one of  JAX Mice in Space: Microgravity and Bone RemodelingNASA researchers are using JAX mice to better understand the reasons for microgravity induced bone loss to prepare space explorers for long-duration expeditions.three space-based studies using JAX Mice conducted in space, 16-week-old female C57BL/6J mice spent 15 days in microgravity aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Following the mission, the mice showed decreased bone volume and bone thickness compared to Earth-bound peers, as well as other symptoms of bone degeneration, as reported by NASA Research Scientist Eduardo Almeida and collaborators.

2018

Following a 37-day spaceflight aboard the International Space Station, JAX Mice showed changes in gut microbiome due to the effects of microgravity. The research team led by Martha Hotz Vitaterna of the Northwestern University Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology noted that the findings represent “a key step toward a better understanding the role of the gut microbiome in mammalian health during spaceflight and provide a basis for future efforts to develop microbiota-based countermeasures that mitigate risks to crew health during long-term human space expeditions.”