In 1997 the CNR-EMMA facility was extensively upgraded in order to meet state-of-the-art standards and specifications, with technical advice by Jackson Laboratory and financial support provided by CNR. The 1,750-m2 facility was entirely renovated, including a new 650-m2 Specific-Pathogen-Free (SPF) barrier and new quarantine areas and cryopreservation, genotyping and sanitary analysis laboratories. With an estimated total capacity of 50,000-70,000 live animals and 100,000 frozen embryo/gamete vials, this is now the largest research repository in Italy and the only Italian archive performing complete in-house processing and quality control of banked strains.
CNR-EMMA staff members defined proper procedures for animal importation, SPF derivation and breeding, sperm/embryo cryopreservation, and genotyping/health control. Equipment required for initial operations was purchased and installed.
Following the upgrading and commissioning of the EMMA main repository, CNR carried out the functional validation of the renovated facility and operating procedures.
Reference mouse strains (C57BL/6, BALB/c, 129/Sv, FVB/N, DBA/2, etc.) from commercial sources and from The Jackson Laboratory were imported and bred under specific-pathogen-free (SPF) barrier conditions in cage isolators and individually-ventilated cage (IVC) racks. The analysis of the sanitary status of animal colonies was carried out by the CNR-EMMA animal quality control unit in accordance with the FELASA/AALAS protocols. Testing protocols included visual observation and microbiological, serological, parasitological and pathological evaluation of the tested mice. Tests were independently replicated at external animal quality laboratories. The sanitary status of EMMA testing colonies conformed to SPF breeding specifications recommended by FELASA/AALAS.
In Autumn 1998 CNR-EMMA successfully concluded an internal assessment regarding its functional capacity for importation, cryopreservation, re-derivation and shipping of transgenic mouse strains. This internal assessment was approved by an European Commission's review panel on November 28, 1998.
The high sanitary status of the animal colonies was validated in March 1999 and CNR-EMMA activated the services for the importation, quality control and cryopreservation of mouse mutant strains from external Laboratories, according to the priorities defined by the EMMA Project Policy Committee. New core facilities for production of transgenic and targeted mutant strains were also established.
Over 900 mutant mouse
strains have so far been processed by SPF re-derivation and cryopreservation
and are presently maintained at the CNR-EMMA Monterotondo facility. The CNR-EMMA
Sanitary Analysis and Quality Control Laboratory is a member of the International Laboratory
Animal Health Monitoring Club.
CNR-INFRAFRONTIER-EMMA staff members organize periodic Workshops and Practical Courses on Cryopreservation of Mouse Germplasm at the Monterotondo Campus, in collaboration with the Jackson Laboratory and financial support by European Union's Framework Programmes. They also participate in several other national and international Theoretical and Practical Courses and collaborate with the EMBL-European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS) and related Institutions in organizing training courses for secondary school teachers and students.
Since 1998, CNR, GSF-München (now Helmholtz Zentrum München), CNRS-Orléans and EMBL-EBI
have implemented and developed the EMMA-Resource DataBase (EMMA-RDB) and website, in collaboration with
the other EMMA partners and the Mouse Genome DataBase at the Jackson Laboratory,
and financial support by the European Union's Framework Programmes.
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
European Mouse Mutant Archive (EMMA)
Campus "Adriano Buzzati-Traverso"
Via E. Ramarini 32
I-00015 Monterotondo Scalo (Roma) Italy
fax: +39-0690091261, +39-069003618