Table of Services

Genetic Monitoring Facility

Function

The Genetic Monitoring Facility functions to protect the genetic integrity of the inbred strains and transgenic lines of rodents utilized in the various research programs at Fox Chase. Rodents used in today's biomedical research must not only be free of disease that may influence experimental results, but also be well-defined in terms of their genetic makeup. This is especially true with the increasing use of transgenic mice in most areas of biomedical research.

The majority of research, involving laboratory animals, done at the Fox Chase Cancer Center involves the use of various genetic systems and large numbers of genetically modified rodents.  Rodents used in today's biomedical research must not only be free of disease that may influence experimental results, but also be well defined in terms of their genetic makeup. This is especially true with the increasing use of genetically modified mice in most areas of biomedical research. Consequently, the Genetic Monitoring Facility functions to protect the genetic integrity of the inbred strains and transgenic lines of rodents utilized in the various research programs at FCCC.  The genetic monitoring program has been designed to 1) construct genetic profiles for each strain/line maintained in the breeding colonies and provide routine genetic surveillance of the various strains for compliance to their profiles and 2) provide for rigid enforcement of proper genetic management procedures within the breeding colonies. Microsatellite analysis is used for background strain characterization and to estimate genetic variation/drift among individuals.  In addition we contract with an outside testing service whose PCR-based methods scan the X chromosome and all 19 autosomes of the mouse genome at approximately 1 5 cM intervals. PCR methodology is used to monitor genetically modified lines. New matings in the foundation colonies are routinely analyzed for compliance to their respective genetic profiles. Random samples are also taken from production matings and stock for genetic analysis.  The Genetic Monitoring Facility also ensures the genetic integrity of research breeding colonies, as well as all imported mice, provides breeding colony maintenance services to Fox Chase research programs and the Transgenic Mouse Facility. During the past year, the Facility has performed 658 genetic profile tests and managed the breeding of over 200 lines of inbred, mutant or genetically modified mice for FCCC investigators. The daily operation of the breeding colonies handled by personnel trained and experienced in genetic management and record keeping. In addition, the LAF Director and Genetic Monitoring Manager continuously monitor the activities in these colonies.

Since 2004 the Laboratory Animal Facility has maintained a contract with Bruce Elder, Ph.D., a consultant geneticist.  Dr. Elder makes periodic visits and oversees the genetic integrity of the breeding colonies as well as advises and consults with the Genetic Monitoring Facility and the LAF Director.

Description

The facility occupies a standard laboratory containing specialized equipment including a thermal cycler, gel and cellulose acetate electrophoresis apparatus, plate readers and an ultracentrifuge.