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“To survey the history of the Mouse News Letter is to see the history of mouse genetics unfold.” 

So wrote Mary Lyon in 1997. Mouse News Letter (MNL) was launched in 1949 as an informal bulletin of mouse genetics information, sponsored by the Nomenclature Committee. In a pre-internet age MNL provided mouse genetic information to readers throughout the world.

MNL enabled mouse geneticists to report new mutants, results of mapping studies, research findings, holdings of mouse stocks and more. It published lists of known genes and the latest mouse map. On behalf of the Nomenclature Committee it printed mouse genetic nomenclature rules. The first issues were produced very simply on a duplicating machine and not all are easy to read.

MNL ran for 48 years, with Harwell geneticists as chief editors. It was published twice a year for over 30 years, eventually increasing to four times a year. It changed its name to Mouse Genome in 1990 and the final issue, Mouse Genome Volume 95 (4) was published in December 1997. 

MNL is hard to get hold of nowadays and so we have uploaded it to increase its availability. At the start of 2015 we uploaded the first 50 issues, covering a period of 25 years, together with the original letter announcing MNL and the distribution list. We have now uploaded the remaining issues of MNL and Mouse Genome, thus completing the project. MNL and Mouse Genome provide a fascinating history of mouse genetics during the second half of the 20th century.

Today MNL continues to exist as a company, Mouse News Letter Ltd, which seeks to promote Genetics and provides funds to enable younger scientists to attend conferences. 


Lyon, MF. (1997). A Life Story of Mouse News Letter and Mouse Genome. Mouse Genome 95:818-820.