FAQ - EMMA repository

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 to make them available to the scientific community. In essence, EMMA's main function is to archive mutant strains of mice and to distribute them to researchers on request. In addition, EMMA 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 this webpage  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 information on depositor and owner, mutation(s), phenotype, genetic background and sanitary status of your mouse strains, literature references, scientific interest and intellectual property rights, as well as some additional information that is needed for handling the mice.

Upon sending your submission you will receive an automatic email notification. Applications for archiving are evaluated by an external Evaluation Committee and, if the information provided through the submission form is clear enough, EMMA will contact you within 60 days and discuss how to proceed. Do not hesitate to contact INFRAFRONTIER if there are questions you would like to address in advance.

Who can deposit strains in EMMA?

Anybody who wants his/her mutant mouse strains cryopreserved may deposit strains with EMMA. However, depositors must be aware that these strains become freely available to other researchers following deposition in EMMA.

What does EMMA require from the depositor?

Once approval has been granted, depositors have to provide a health status report for the mice they want to send to EMMA. This report must be less than 3 months old.

Please note that due to its methodological simplicity and reduced costs, for most strains sperm will be cryopreserved. Depositors are then asked to send a minimum of 5 heterozygous or homozygous males (as appropriate) of breeding age to the EMMA node to which the mouse line has been assigned to for cryopreservation. If a strain needs to be frozen down at homozygous state, embryos will be cryopreserved and a minimum of 5 males and 5 females is required. Provision of more mice than the specified minimum will accelerate the freezing process. Under normal circumstances it will take EMMA between 4 and 6 months to freeze down a heterozygous mutant strain once the archiving centre has received the animals. This time frame includes a viability control.

What does EMMA charge for archiving strains?

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

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. The timelines include rederivation controls.

Does EMMA offer a delayed release of the mice?

EMMA can grant a grace period of up to two years. During this grace period the mice will be archived by EMMA but will not be published on the list of available EMMA strains. If you wish to make use of the grace period, you should complete the respective fields in the submission form 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). If distribution requires a MTA, EMMA will not ship the strain until the recipient has signed the MTA. The MTA applies in relation between provider (depositor) and recipient. EMMA merely acts as a broker.

Distribution of stocks

How can I obtain mice from EMMA?

On this webpage you can find the list of available strains with further information on the mouse you are interested in. When clicking on the 'order' button for the appropriate strain you will be guided to an online 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 two weeks.

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 deliver within 4 to 6 months. Some strains in high demand are maintained as live colonies and can be shipped within one month. In general, service requests will not be processed until a fully executed MTA has been received (where applicable) and either a billing address or a purchase order number has been provided by the user. Therefore please note that the delivery times given above represent the time period between the date when all paperwork is in place and the date of shipment.

Whether a strain is held as frozen material or live mice on shelf is displayed in the strain details on the EMMA strain list, under 'Availability'. Some strains require special expertise to be reliably rederived from frozen samples. Therefore, EMMA only distributes rederived mice in these cases. As default, heterozygous material is being archived and distributed.

For more details please check the EMMA strain ordering page.

What does EMMA charge?

EMMA charges €1600 for frozen material and €3200 for live mice. The fees levied by EMMA are used solely to meet the animal husbandry and stock replacement costs, and to recuperate the cost for archiving. In addition to these EMMA service fees users have to cover all the shipping costs (including the cost for returning dry-shippers, where applicable). In case of cancellations of service requests, EMMA reserves the right to charge users for incurred costs. The individual EMMA nodes will each bill users 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.

What amount of spermatozoa will I receice?

The frozen material provided will be sufficient for two IVF sessions.

How many mice will I receive per strain?

If live mice are ordered, EMMA will ship a breeding nucleus. In these circumstances a breeding nucleus is defined as up to 3 breeding pairs, with a breeding pair comprising a heterozygous mutant plus a wildtype mate of the appropriate genetic background (if required).

If you wish to obtain more than a breeding nucleus, 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 license?

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 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 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 or ordering and thus marked by a red traffic light symbol. However, you are invited to register your interest in any such strains by clicking on the EMMA strain list, finding your strain of interest, opening the strain details by using the '+' toggle, then clicking the 'Register interest' button.

Registrations of interest will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. This registration of interest is valuable in helping EMMA to anticipate demand and to optimise availability of strains. Users will be notified as soon as the strain becomes available. They will receive an e-mail with a link to a pre-filled online form that they can use to submit their order.

EMMA strains produced from ES cells generated by the International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC) are displayed on the EMMA strain list as soon as germ-line transmission has been achieved and the genotype of the pups has been confirmed. From this stage on scientists can register their interest for the mice on the EMMA strain list as described above.

Genes that have only been assigned for mouse production and phenotyping by the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) and for which mice have not been produced, yet, it is possible to register interest on the IMPC webpage.

ES cells and targeting vectors can be ordered directly from the IKMC repositories. The European Mouse Mutant Cell Repository (EuMMCR) holds and distributes vectors and mutant ES cell lines produced in the EUCOMM and EUCOMMTools consortia representing over 16.800 different genes.

Can I order IKMC vectors and ES cells from EMMA?

No, IKMC vectors and ES cells must be orderd from the IKMC repositories. The European Mouse Mutant Cell Repository (EuMMCR) holds and distributes vectors and mutant ES cell lines produced in the EUCOMM and EUCOMMTools consortia representing over 16.800 different genes.

Can EMMA strains be found on other internet resources?

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

International Mouse Strain Resource (IMSR)

ENSEMBL

Does EMMA offer allele conversion for EUCOMM/KOMP lines?

So far EMMA has archived over 2500 mouse strains generated using the EUCOMM/KOMP targeting strategies. Some mouse strains are only archived as knockout-first allele ('tm1a allele'), but if users are interested in another allele which is not cryopreserved at EMMA, some EMMA nodes offer allele conversion as a service. Please note that this service may take longer than the delivery times for the already cryopreserved alleles and users have to pay an additional fee.

Delivery times and service fees are available upon request using the links in the availabilities section in the EMMA strain search. In case these options are note available in the EMMA strain search, please contact emma@infrafrontier.eu.

Dissemination of knowledge

Does EMMA teach cryopreservation techniques?

Some EMMA partner institutions offer cryopreservation training courses. For details on these courses please check the INFRAFRONTIER course schedule.

Which methods does EMMA use?

All EMMA partners use validated protocols for mouse embryo and spermatozoa freezing techniques, in vitro fertilisation procedures and embryo transfers. However, the EMMA partners use different protocols that are optimized for their individual settings. EMMA distribution centres will provide to users ordering frozen embryos or spermatozoa the centre specific validated thawing protocols.

Your can download the protocols that are practiced in EMMA training courses at the MRC-Harwell and that are routinely used at Harwell. The protocol on the production of germ-free mice is provided by the Gulbenkian Institute which is offering the EMMA axenic (germ-free) service.

Additional EMMA services

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

During the course of the INFRAFRONTIER2020 project a total of 2 Trans-national Access calls for the derivation of germ-free mice supporting a total of 10 projects will be published. The first call was released in 2017 and a second one will follow in 2018.

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.

Depositors should be aware that to aid curation of archived strains, official nomenclature (including laboratory code) will be requested from Mouse Genome Informatics (MGI) when required. All registered alleles etc. will remain reserved, but not public on the MGI website, until they appear in any publication, or the strain is made public on the INFRAFRONTIER website.