The Carver Trust grant, made through the UI Foundation, will fund a mouse sperm cryopreservation program that will protect existing investments in mouse strains at the UI. The funding will initially safeguard up to 225 unique genetic lines of mice.
“By cryopreserving sperm cells from essential strains — essentially storing them long-term at very cold temperatures and in safe locations — the sperm can be thawed and used even decades later to restore a colony,” said Paul Cooper, D.V.M., director of the UI Office of Animal Resources. “By doing this, the risk of losing mouse strains to disasters is reduced, and physical space for housing live mice is more effectively utilized.”
The study of most human diseases requires the use of mice, said Cooper, who led the UI team applying for the Carver Trust grant. Mice and humans share a similar anatomy, physiology and genome, and they are susceptible to many of the same diseases. Thus, said Cooper, mice are widely used in every step of the scientific process, from gene discovery to therapy testing.
He added that cryopreservation can be compared to using a backup hard drive to protect the main hard drive of a personal computer. If a physical catastrophe or disease occurs in the animal housing facility, leading to the death of certain mouse colonies (failure of the main hard drive, causing loss of your data files), the mouse lines are protected by the cryopreservation process and can be recovered (data files in backup hard drive).
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the state of Iowa. It was created through the will of Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist, who died in 1981.
The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at http://www.uiowafoundation.org.
STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550
MEDIA CONTACT: Forrest Meyer, The University of Iowa Foundation, 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973; firstname.lastname@example.org. Writer: Forrest Meyer