New genetic database will save the lives of thousands of laboratory mice

A group of researchers from the Francis Crick Institute, UK, have developed a new database of gene activity in mice regarding 10 disease models. The database could allow the saving of life or in any case the use of rodents in the context of medical experiments linked to these pathologies.

The research, published in Nature Communications, describes a database that includes the activities of each gene present in the blood of mice affected by 10 different diseases. There is talk of over 45,000 genes and lung-related genes have also been added to diseases involving the pulmonary apparatus.

The saving is related to the fact that usually researchers must infect mice, take samples from them to extract and sequence the RNA to perform the analysis of the genes they are interested in, and then break down the mice themselves. Using an app, scientists will now be able to monitor the activity of any gene linked to the 10 diseases considered without performing laboratory experiments on mice, according to the researchers.

The database was created by Anne O’Garra and Christine Graham who worked with many other collaborators, some of whom from several other British and US institutions. To create the database they used a sequencing technique defined as “next-generation,” the RNA-seq.

Researchers should be able to understand how the body of immune mice responds to infections and allergens. Infectious diseases taken into consideration include the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, the influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus.