FAQs About EMMA

 

What are the objectives of EMMA?

EMMA's primary objective is to establish and manage a unified repository for maintaining medically relevant mouse mutants and making them available to the scientific community. In essence, EMMA's main function is to archive mutant strains of mice and distribute them to researchers on request. However, EMMA also hosts courses in cryopreservation in order to promote the use and dissemination of frozen embryos and spermatozoa. Dissemination of knowledge is also fostered by a dedicated resource database.

 

Cryopreservation of mutants

How do I submit a mouse to EMMA?

On the EMMA home page (www.emmanet.org) you can find a submission form, which you should complete and send to EMMA via the website. On the submission form you will be asked to give contact information, the type and description of your mutation, the phenotype and genetic background of your mouse, the sanitary status, literature information (PubMedIDs), information on scientific interest and intellectual property rights and some additional information needed for handling the mice.
Upon sending your submission you will receive an automatic email notification. Applications for archiving are evaluated by an external scientific committee and within 60 days EMMA will contact you and discuss how to proceed. Do not hesitate to contact EMMA if there are questions you would like to address in advance.

 

Who can deposit strains in EMMA?

Anybody who wants their mutant mouse strains cryopreserved may deposit strains with EMMA. However depositors must be aware that these strains become freely available to other researchers after being deposited.

 

What does EMMA require from the depositor?

If embryos are to be frozen down EMMA requires the depositor to send several breeding animals, ideally 10 females and 6 males. The more breeding pairs the depositor can send the quicker the stock will be cryopreserved. For sperm freezing 6 males are sufficient. Depositors also have to provide a health status report for the mice they want to send. This report must be less than 3 months old.

 

What does EMMA charge for archiving strains?

The depositor has to bear the expense of shipping the mice to the EMMA institute responsible for archiving the strain. However, EMMA does not charge the depositor for archiving mouse strains.

 

How many embryos does EMMA freeze?

EMMA freezes at least 500 embryos per strain.

 

How long does it take for a strain to become available for distribution?

Several factors such as the mode of cryopreservation (sperm or embryo freezing), the genetic background and the health status of the mutant strain imported to EMMA influence the time required before a strain becomes available for distribution. Usually, we need 4 to 6 months to archive heterozygous mutant strains. Up to 12 months could be required for freezing a homozygous strain.

 

Does EMMA offer a delayed release of the mice?

EMMA can grant a 'grace period' of up to 2 years. During this 'grace period' the mice will be archived by EMMA but will not be published on the EMMA homepage. If you wish to make use of the 'grace period', you can either complete the respective fields in the submission form or send an e-mail and briefly explain why you need it.

 

Can I cover my intellectual property rights by an MTA?

Depositors can provide EMMA with a material transfer agreement (MTA). EMMA will not ship the strain until the recipient has signed this MTA. The MTA applies in relation between provider (depositor) and recipient. EMMA only acts as distributor.

 

Distribution of stocks

How can I obtain mice from EMMA?

On the EMMA website (www.emmanet.org) you can find a list of available strains with further information on the mouse you are interested in. When clicking on the 'order' link for the appropriate strain you will be guided to a request form which you can quickly fill in and send to EMMA through the website. The request form will ask you for contact information and whether you wish to receive frozen sperm or embryos or live animals. After receipt of your request, EMMA will contact you within one week.

 

What can I obtain and what is the delivery time?

You can obtain sperm or embryos as frozen samples with a delivery time of four weeks. If you order live mice after rederivation EMMA will provide up to three breeding pairs per mouse strain within four to six months of the request. However, some strains in high demand are maintained as live colonies and can be shipped within one month.
Some strains require special expertise to be reliably rederived from frozen samples. Therefore, EMMA only distributes rederived mice in these cases.

Whether a strain is held as frozen material or live mice on shelf is displayed on the respective strain information page of the EMMA website, under 'Availability'.

As the default, heterozygous material is being archived and distributed.

 

Can I register interest for strains that are still under development?

EMMA has newly submitted strains in various stages of preservation, development and colony establishment. These strains are not yet available for distribution and can not be ordered yet. You should, however, indicate your interest in obtaining them. The 'EMMA Strain Interest Registration Form' is accessible via the 'register interest' link on the EMMA strain list and on the strain description page.

This registration of interest is valuable in helping EMMA to anticipate demand and to optimize availability of strains. Customers will receive notice as soon as the strain becomes available and be able to place their strain request in time.

 

What does EMMA charge?

Standard fees:

Shipments of frozen embryos/sperm cost €1100, while live mice are distributed for a cost of €2400. The €2400 covers the provision of a breeding nucleus of up to three pairs of SPF mice. The charges levied by EMMA are used solely to meet the animal husbandry and stock replacement costs. Customers are still asked to meet the actual costs for shipping the material from the EMMA facility to the recipient's institution.

As the default, heterozygous material is being archived and distributed. EMMA does not generally offer breeding services to e.g. generate cohorts of homozygous mutants. However, such a service and fees may be negotiated with the respective EMMA distribution centre.

In general, service requests will not be processed until a fully executed Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) has been received (where applicable) and either a billing address or a purchase order number has been provided by the customer. In case of cancellations of service requests, EMMA reserves the right to charge customers for incurred costs. The individual EMMA repositories will each bill customers separately.

 

How many embryos will I receive?

EMMA will ship two straws containing approximately 25 embryos/straw which will be sufficient to recover the stock.

 

Can I obtain more than two to three breeding pairs?

If you wish to obtain more than two to three breeding pairs of one strain, you should enquire by e-mail. Please do not send more than one request per strain for that purpose.

 

What will be the health status of the breeding pairs I receive?

EMMA screens and distributes mice in accordance with FELASA protocols. All mice leaving the EMMA institutions are free of the pathogens specified in the FELASA guidelines.

 

Do I need an import licence?

Yes, but the actual paper work will vary according to your own national rules and regulations. You should seek advice from your named veterinary surgeon or animal house manager.

 

Are EMMA strains available to non-European Institutes?

EMMA strains are available to academic institutions from all around the world. Stocks may also be available to industrial/commercial organisations, although their use may be restricted in accordance with specific Material Transfer Agreements, held by the original owners/producers of the requested strain.

 

Can EMMA strains be found on other internet resources?

The EMMA strains can also be accessed from the following web sites:

 

Dissemination of knowledge

Does EMMA teach cryopreservation techniques?

The EMMA institutions CNR-Monterotondo, Italy, and MRC-Harwell, UK, offer training courses that are, in part, financed by EMMA. The Monterotondo courses are organized by the CNR-IBC in collaboration with the Jackson Laboratories. European participants can apply for financial support provided by the EMMA network. The MRC-Harwell courses are hosted by the Mammalian Genetics Unit's Frozen Embryo & Sperm Archive (FESA) and were initiated within the EUMORPHIA framework. For details on both courses please check the EMMA course schedule.

 

Which methods does EMMA use?

The protocols for sperm freezing, embryo freezing, superovulation, in vitro fertilization, transportation and the generation of germ-free mice are available in the protocols section.

 

Additional EMMA services

How can I use the EMMA axenic (germ-free) service?

To use the EMMA axenic service you have to complete the EMMA Axenic Service Request Form. Requests will be evaluated within 30 days by the EMMA Evaluation Committee. They will be handled on a 'first come, first served' basis. You should be able to provide 6 females and 3 males, ideally of SPF status. Within this service EMMA offers to transfer 2 litters of mice into a germ-free environment and support their development to weaning age or EMMA will support the maturation of 2 female and 2 male pups up to breeding age.

The germ-free service is funded by the European Commission's FP7 Capacities Specific Programme and is free of charge. However, the costs of mouse transportation to and from the EMMA facilities have to be covered by the customers.

Further germ-free services including additional production, housing and experimentation can be arranged with the collaborating institutes on a cost recovery basis.

EMMA's germ-free service is not restricted to strains that are archived with EMMA and EMMA does not require germ-free strains to be made publicly available.

 

Does EMMA provide a nomenclature service?

EMMA provides a nomenclature service for archived mice according to the rules and guidelines established by the International Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Mice.

 

International networks

Is EMMA involved in other European Framework Projects?

EMMA is involved in the European Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Program (EUCOMM). EUCOMM is a Framework Project of the European Commission aimed at building a repository of mouse stem cells, each of which contains a mutation in one of the 20,000 or so genes in the mouse genome. Within the EUCOMM consortium EMMA is responsible for quality control of targeted embryonic stem cells and for cryopreservation and distribution of mice.

 

What is EMMA's role in FIMRe, the Federation of International Mouse Resources?

EMMA is a founding member of the Federation of International Mouse Resources (FIMRe), a collaborating group of mouse repository and resource centers from around the world whose collective goal is to archive and disseminate mouse strains as cryopreserved embryos and gametes, ES cell lines and live animals to the research community. Other FIMRe members include representatives from the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.