Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

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There are a number of benefits to you, the donor, of having the MMRRC preserve and distribute your strain:
  • Fulfills your obligation to share biomedical research resources developed under NIH funded grants.
  • Frees up animal housing resources.
  • Reduces per diem costs.
  • Preserves and maintains your strain in a cryopreserved archive.
  • Eliminates the shipment of mice to multiple requesting investigators.
The Donating Investigator (DI) must read and agree to the MMRRC terms and conditions and complete the web-based application form. Generally, a published reference or a preprint is required. Once the strain is accepted, the DI must provide additional breeding and husbandry information and a genotyping protocol (or phenotyping method). Additionally, they need to submit MMRRC's Donor Material Transfer Agreement signed by the DI and an authorized official of their institution (e.g., a Technology Transfer Coordinator), and provide a recent Health Status Report for the strain's colony. (See Overview of Strain Submission Process for additional information.)
The donating investigator (or their institution's Technology Transfer official) may elect to limit MMRRC distribution of their strain to non-profit or academic institutions by selecting this option on the MMRRC's Donor MTA form. The MMRRC will not knowingly distribute or ship such strains to any commercial entity, but will refer inquires from such for-profit entities back to the donor and their institution in order to obtain the material.
The MMRRC's Coordinating Committee (CC) makes the decision based on information in the application and any provided papers. The MMRRC considers input from members of its Advisory Panel who have specialized expertise. The AP members are provided with the same information as the CC members.
Generally, no. The MMRRC is a repository and distributor for strains developed primarily by researchers. The MMRRC considers candidate strains submitted by researchers for preservation and distribution. Those determined to have sufficient or potential scientific value are accepted for importation, maintenance and distribution by the system. The MMRRC facilities on request will generate chimeric mice from ES cell lines, constituting a new genetic line. Occasionally, an MMRRC facility creates a new mouse line, either by traditional breeding methods or micro-injection of ES cell line; in order to make these lines available to other researchers these are also added to the repository.
Generally, about six to nine months; a number of factors affect the total time, including:
  • time to obtain information about the candidate strain;
  • time to conduct the review;
  • time for the Donating Investigator to provide the necessary documents and ship the mice;
  • time to import, genotype and cryopreserve the strain.
Once a strain is accepted and all information provided, the MMRRC facility assigned to preserve and distribute the strain must acquire the strain from the Donating Investigator. Usually only a few mice are provided, and the time can vary considerably. In order to minimize pathogen transfer and colony contamination, the mice must be rederived. Afterwards, the mice must be bred to a sufficient colony size to allow cryopreservation. For a live colony, the colony must be expanded to a level sufficient to support distribution.
Generally, yes; preprints are acceptable. For the strain to be valuable for the research community, other researchers must be able to learn about the research involving your strain. Strains without publications are unlikely to be requested for distribution. Since the capacity of the repository is limited, the MMRRC looks for strains that the research community may find valuable. Under Contract Strain Management submissions (Type-3), the MMRRC review board may waive the publication requirement.
Yes. Although the MMRRC prefers published strains, to encourage investigators to submit their valuable strains we offer a Delayed Release option. As the Donating Investigator, you may request Delayed Release by briefly explaining your need on your submission application. If your submission is accepted, the MMRRC can delay release of your strain until your publication date for a maximum of 12 months. You must inform the MMRRC of the date of publication on or before publication date. Pursuant to NIH policy, the MMRRC will make your strain available as soon as feasible after the delay period. (For more information, see Delayed Release page.)
The abbreviation stands for Conditions of Use. It is an agreement between a provider and a recipient for transfer of materials. The MMRRC uses the COU as the formal instrument for transferring material from the MMRRC to Recipients. The COU states the terms and use limitations imposed by the provider on the recipient. See MMRRC's COU for additional information.
The abbreviation stands for Material Transfer Agreement. It is an agreement between a provider and a recipient for transfer of materials. The MMRRC uses MTAs as the formal instrument for transferring mouse strains from Donors to the MMRRC. Note, some of the collections require a signed User Agreement for transfer of material from the MMRRC to Recipients although they are not formally called MTAs. The MTA states the terms and use limitations imposed by the provider on the recipient. (See MMRRC MTAs for additional information.)

Under the terms of the NIH contracts with Deltagen, Inc. and Lexicon Genetics, Inc. each corporation established its own mechanisms for licensing these strains to non-profit and academic recipients. The MMRRC was not involved in establishing these agreements and acts only as an intermediary in obtaining the necessary agreements so that the research community has access to these research mice. The signatorees to these agreements are the recipient and the donor corporation and the MMRRC is not authorized to negotiate any alterations to the agreement terms.

No. Custom written MTAs and alterations to the MMRRC MTAs would create much confusion and additional administrative burdens on the MMRRC and other parties in the distribution process, thus impeding the acquisition and distribution of strains for the research community. These MTAs were developed from extensive consultation among the technology transfer professionals of the MMRRC facilities. We believe the current MTAs are effective agreements for sharing of these research resources which achieve the appropriate balance for both the donor and the recipient. (See MMRRC MTAs for additional information.)
Complete the submission form as a Type 1, and e-mail your request for a specific distribution MMRRC facility to the MMRRC's Strain Donation Coordinator ( The MMRRC Submission Review group will consider such requests once the strain is accepted. The Review group must balance the needs of the entire MMRRC repository and so cannot guarantee the requested assignment.
The MMRRC's purpose is to provide these strains to bona fide biomedical researchers. Therefore, most recipients will be associated with a recognized biomedical or genetics research institution. All recipients are required to conform their research to all applicable statues and regulations, including all applicable federal statutes and Public Health Service policies relating to the use and care of laboratory animals. The donating investigator or their institution may have restricted distribution of their strain to non-profit institutions. The MMRRC's Strain Catalog and Strain Detail Sheets indicate this restriction where applicable.
Fees are based on costs associated with an individual line, including such factors as the effort and amount of supplies needed to archive, maintain, and recover a line, demand for the line, per diem for maintenance, among other factors. Fees for products and services are listed near the bottom of each Strain Detail Sheet in the catalog.
The distribution fee covers the expense of resuscitating mice from the cryo-archive; you will receive the resulting litter. The litter will contain at minimum one mutant carrier; the actual number of animals and the gender and genotype ratios will vary. (Typically, multiple breeder pairs can be established from the recovered litter.) Prior to shipment, the MMRRC will provide information about the animals recovered. If you anticipate or find that you need to request specific genotypes, genders or quantities of mice in excess of what is likely from a resuscitated litter, you may discuss available options and pricing with the supplying MMRRC facility.
Recovered litters are usually available to ship in 3 to 4 months after an order is placed and a Conditions of Use form or other User Agreement has been received. Please view our Resuscitation Timeline for more details.
That depends on the continued availability of a live breeding colony. Since the recovered litter is transferred to the requesting investigator, normally there would not be additional animals available -- unless the facility is breeding more animals to replenish the cryo archive. The MMRRC's Informatics, Coordination and Service Center can assist you in determining the status of a live colony following cryo-recovery.
The MMRRC is not a commercial breeding facility and the strains in the repository are not in high enough demand to warrant a large production colony. To assure availability to other interested researchers, the MMRRC limits requests to two pair of breeders, leaving the recipient to breed up a colony sufficient for their research needs.
The MMRRC's Informatics, Coordination and Service Center will take your request for consideration by the supplying MMRRC facility. It is up to the supplying MMRRC facility to determine whether they can fulfill your request for additional animals.
No, but at its discretion, the MMRRC facility may negotiate with you or your institution to establish a contractual custom breeding colony for a fee. The arrangements are negotiated directly with the supplying MMRRC facility; such special breeding colonies must not impede the availability of the strain to other researchers.
Yes, if the distributing MMRRC facility offers this product form. When available, the MMRRC Strain Catalog lists the forms of cryo-material that can be requested. The individual MMRRC facilities determine which strains they will provide as cryo-material.
Each MMRRC facility provides technical services for the strains available from their facility. The MMRRC's Customer Service Center (800-910-2291 in North America or 530-757-5710) can direct your call to the appropriate facility's technical services. You may also select from the menu on the left edge of the Members page to contact a facility directly.
As a member of Federation of International Mouse Resources (FIMRe) , the MMRRC is able to assist you with obtaining live mice at your institution. FIMRe members can exchange cryopreserved mouse materials for reanimation by another repository and subsequent delivery of live animals.
Generally, cryopreserved materials are easier to export and import than live animals and the member repositories are familiar with the regulations and procedures affecting transfers between repositories, saving you and your institution this effort. Member FIMRe repositories will ship the requested cryopreserved material to the MMRRC facility of your choice. The MMRRC will reanimate the material and ship the recovered mice to your institution. Additionally, you may contract with the MMRRC for any additional services you may require including genotyping or additional breeding for specific quantities or genotypes of animals.
If you or your institution is able to reanimate live mice from cryopreserved materials, you may request distribution as cryopreserved material. If you are not able to perform the reanimation, you may arrange with a FIMRe member repository to perform the reanimation for you and with the MMRRC to have cryopreserved materials shipped to the member repository of your choice for reanimation.
Distributions utilizing this reanimation service are governed by all regulations, licenses, terms of use, policies, etc. applicable to the mouse line at the originating repository. Recipients will obtain any licenses, MTA's, etc. required by the originating repository; the reanimating repository does not place additional restrictions or conditions on use of the mice.