- Published: Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:00
Think of a large family where a few members have a particular illness or disease. They go to the hospital to get their DNA examined. This might lead the doctors to discover that these family members have a genetic change. They can then contact a company such as Ozgene and ask them to design and generate a mouse that has exactly the same genetic change as these family members. If these mice develop a similar disease, then one of the causes for that disease has been found. You now have an animal model that can be used to find a cure or treatment for that disease.
Up to now, Ozgene has concentrated on creating the genetically modified mice for our clients. Some of the most phenotypically famous mouse generated by Ozgene have been the “obesity” mouse and the “talking” mouse. However, we essentially stopped there and let the researcher carry on with the rest. What if we didn’t and went beyond?
How about we take on the task of determining what has changed in the mouse? Does it develop the disease? Do the treatments work? This is called phenotyping. Phenotyping at its most basic level means confirming that the genetic change has, in fact, taken place in the mouse. Is the introduced gene now expressed in the mouse, or is the gene that was knocked out no longer expressed?
Further phenotyping involves analysing the mouse to determine if it is the right model for the disease. It usually involves looking at changes in different tissues, blood, organs, immune system etc. Think of it as conducting an investigation to determine if the disease has manifested in the mouse. Once confirmed, the mouse model can be studied and researchers can gain insight into the disease process and potentially develop treatments that may lead to a cure.
Ozgene is your partner in functional genomics and drug target validation; we will work with you to discover the specific function of your gene of interest, or to define the gene’s role in disease to be used as a potential target for drug development.
We have always been a company by scientists for scientists. The Ozgene team have over 20 years of experience in the generation of mouse models, but we are now more focused on working with you through your entire research project. Ozgene will still send you the mice, while we can also undertake the phenotyping, and send you the data for your interpretation and analysis.
Let me know if you’d like to have a chat about phenotyping and what we can offer.
- Frank, CEO -