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5-Animals: Free GE mice herald launch of Asia-Pacific network



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TITLE:  Free mice herald launch of Asia-Pacific network
SOURCE: Nature 437, UK, by Carina Dennis
        http://www.scidev.net/pdffiles/nature/437302b.pdf
DATE:   15 Sep 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Free mice herald launch of Asia-Pacific network

Developmental biologists in Asia-Pacific countries have come up with an
intriguing incentive to boost research in the region -- giving away
transgenic mice for free.

The service is part of a research network launched in Sydney last week at
a meeting of the International Society of Developmental Biologists
(ISDB), which aims to encourage collaboration between labs in the region.

To kick things off, the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in
Kobe, Japan, will make transgenic mice to order for scientists in the
region, free of charge.

Studies using transgenic mice can reveal the functions of genes,
particularly during embryonic development. But the mice are expensive to
create, so providing them for free should help researchers in developing
countries in the region, says Shinichi Aizawa of the CDB, who heads the
service.

"The service will be very useful, especially for those scientists who
don't have their own facilities to generate knockout mice," agrees Kathy
Cheah, a developmental biologist at the University of Hong Kong.

But there are strings attached. The CDB will own the mice, and requires
coauthorship on the first publication generated from the use of each mouse.

Ownership will be retained to ensure that the mice produced are available
to all scientists, says Aizawa. He adds that if the mice are to be used
commercially, an agreement will need to be negotiated between the various
parties involved.

The mice will be the first step in bolstering regional ties, says
Masatoshi Takeichi, director of the CDB and newly elected president of
the ISDB. "Interactions between countries in the region are very weak,
and yet geographically we are so close," he says.

The research network, called the Asia-Pacific Developmental Biology
Network, includes Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, India,
Australia and New Zealand, but in the future could extend as far as Iran
and Hawaii. It is a grass-roots initiative supported by, but independent
of, the ISDB. "The aim is for members to share each other's laboratories
with no barriers," says K. VijayRaghavan, director of the National Centre
for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India.

Participants will share ideas and information through the Internet, and
host institutes will help cover travel and research costs for students
and researchers. Members will also take advantage of each other's
specialist facilities, including the CDB's transgenic mouse production
scheme, India's liver-cell imaging technology and Singapore's zebrafish
expertise. "The goal is to create a vibrant intellectual environment in
the region," says VijayRaghavan.

The research network was lauded by delegates in Sydney. "Researchers in
Asia have lots of links with labs in the West, but not so many within the
region. We hope the network will change that," says Cheah.

The CDB will start its mouse service this month with collaborators in India.

Researchers should receive the mice within a year of sending the DNA
constructs or sequence data needed to make the animals.




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