The MRC Harwell Archive Launches New Portal

By Ailish O'Sullivan

1st February 2021 · 1 min read

MRC Harwell has launched a brand new user-friendly portal for The Harwell Archive. The new platform will make it easier to search across all mouse strains held at Harwell including mouse lines from individual researcher, external depositor and large-scale projects.

The Harwell Archive, established in the early 1970s, holds more than 3,000 unique mouse strains, all of which are available to the scientific community worldwide. Developed to promote a cooperative future in mouse genetic research, this repository safeguards germplasm collected from unique mouse strains, to secure mouse lines and ensure they are readily available to the scientific community.

The new portal is designed to makes it easier to search for and order mouse strains for research. The portal provides one collective space to collate all information on the numerous mouse strains curated from both individual researchers and larger-scale projects including, GEMM, the IMPC, EUCOMM and EUMODIC. It is also the UK node for the European Mouse Mutant Archive (EMMA). Users can now easily search through all mouse strains, selecting specifically for genes, alleles and MGI ids to review all relevant strains.

Researchers can also use The Mary Lyon Centre’s (MLC) archiving service to deposit their mouse strain in The Harwell Archive. The MLC offers it expertise to support scientist and researchers across the globe to securely archive their genetically altered mouse lines free of charge. Archiving mouse stocks is an important resource for the biomedical community, allowing researchers to protect research programmes, reduce the number of mice being bred and preserve valuable models. Archiving also ensures the biomedical community has long-term access to important genetic resources.

Archiving should be a central part of any colony management programme because it protects valuable genetic resources, facilitates sharing and allows mouse strains to be safely removed from the shelf when not required. The Harwell Archive provides all these benefits to the community for free. In addition, it will take on the time consuming business of distributing popular mouse strains. In short, using the Harwell Archive allows investigators to focus precious laboratory resources on their academic research, rather than diverting them towards resource management


Dr Martin Fray, Head of Biological Resources Group