Knock-out mice are model organisms in which specific genes have been inactivated. These model organisms make it possible to understand the role of genetic changes in the development of human diseases. The International Knock-out Mouse Project is a worldwide effort to generate knock-out mutations in every gene in the mouse genome – and is widely considered to be the next most important step following the Human Genome Project.
Geoff Hicks, a cancer biologist at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, a joint institute between CancerCare Manitoba and the University of Manitoba, and Janet Rossant, a developmental biologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, are project leaders of North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Project: High Throughput Mammalian Functional Analysis for the Discovery of Novel Determinants of Human Disease.
As a major contributor to the International Knock-out Mouse Project resource, this project aims to identify and characterize the functions of mouse genes. The team led by Drs. Hicks and Rossant will establish cell lines in which all mouse genes of interest are knocked out and will make them available to the scientific and biotech communities. In addition, the team will establish cell-based and computer-based applications linked to target genes associated with disease, and will establish a distribution centre making so that Canadian biomedical research projects, whether public or private, can more easily benefit from this knowledge base.
The genetically altered cell lines developed by this project will allow researchers to address the exact role of genetic changes in the development of specific human diseases. This in turn is expected to accelerate the rate at which new medical discoveries are translated into possible therapeutic interventions, and then moved into health care delivery.
Integrated GE3LS Research: Socio-economic impacts of institutional/business practices and intellectual property structures
GE3LS Project Leaders: Edna Einsiedel, University of Calgary and Tania Bubela, University of Alberta
The GE3LS component of this research, effectively a case study of the NorCOMM project as it develops, will allow insights into the ongoing debate about the effects of institutional/business practices and intellectual property structures on access to research tools; rates of innovation; knowledge and innovation flows; rights of developers and innovators; and access to products and processes of innovation.
To address the impacts of the NorCOMM resource, the GE3LS activities have three principal aims:
- To explore costs and benefits of different network structures, funding models and intellectual property practices on the development of resources for genomics research and impacts on knowledge flows in the domain of mouse genomics and human genetic disease research.
- To use multi-method approaches to track knowledge and innovation flows including new computational methods to visualize the knowledge domain of mouse genomics
- To use bibliometric and scientometric methods to objectively assess and prioritize gene targets for Canada’s public and private research sectors.