Science  16 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5426, pp. 309

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  1. Mouse House West

    A leading purveyor of lab mice is going coast to coast. The Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, Maine, announced this week that it will open a West Coast outpost in cooperation with the University of California (UC), Davis, in a bid to make genetically customized mice more easily available to researchers across the western United States. The new $10.6 million center, to be housed in several refurbished buildings, will raise up to 30,000 specially bred mice a year. The lab already ships about 2 million mice annually from its Maine headquarters, which stocks over 2300 varieties. The strains include “models” for many human diseases, from epilepsy to cancer.

    Researchers at the host campus are looking forward to the rodent invasion. The school's medical and veterinary programs “will be greatly enhanced” by the ready supply of research subjects, says Stephen Barthold, director of the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine. The first colonies are scheduled to arrive early next year, once renovations—including the creation of special disease-free nurseries and air-cleaning systems—are complete.

  2. Genomics Boom?

    France is poised to give a major boost to genome research. Government officials are hoping to give the nation's $46 million genome program about a 50% raise next year and launch at least four new gene research centers, or “genopoles,” to complement an existing facility in the Paris suburb of Evry. The draft 2000 budget plan also calls for creating consortia teaming government agencies with private companies, especially biotech start-ups, which could ultimately hike total genome research spending to $150 million a year.

    Gene jockeys won't know how much cash they will get until this fall, when Parliament votes on the 2000 budget. Still, “there is a lot of potential” for growth, says molecular biologist Pierre Chambon, president of the genome program's scientific advisory council. “The question is whether it is going to be supported at a proper level.”

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