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Automated Three-Dimensional Phenotyping of Mouse Embryos

As one approach to define the relationship of genes in the mouse to their function in the organism, there is an internationally funded program to mutate all of the genes in the mouse (approximately 25,000), one gene at a time. This will result in 25,000 different mice for which the question will need to be asked, "How do these mice differ from a normal mouse which has all of its genes intact?" This project developed new technology based on imaging and automated computer analysis to visualize embryos and compare them to the non-mutated embryo. The three-dimensional imaging included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and alternative 3D optical imaging (OPT). For both of these imaging modalities, sophisticated computer analyses were developed to compare images of an embryo with a single mutation to the reference embryo, and as a consequence, point out the regions of difference. This is essential technology for making use of the 25,000 individual gene-modified animals.

Research is funded by Genome Canada

Strain average images for 129S1/SvImJ (a) and C57BL/6J (b) mice in embryonic day 15.5. The variance in local shape is shown in the colour coded images in (c) and (d).

The Hospital for Sick Children
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