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 their 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. This report must be less than 3 months old.

Depositors are asked to send mice of breeding age to the EMMA node that the mouse line has been assigned to for embryo or spermatozoa cryopreservation. By default lines are archived as heterozygotes and a minimum of 5 males is required. If a strain needs to be frozen down at homozygous state, 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 (including a rederivation control to ascertain that mice can be recovered from frozen stock).

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 customer. 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 customers have to cover all the shipping costs. In case of cancellations of service requests, EMMA reserves the right to charge customers for incurred costs. The individual EMMA nodes 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.

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. Customers 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

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 the INFRAFRONTIER-I3 project. The Monterotondo courses are organized by the CNR-Monterotondo in collaboration with the Jackson Laboratory. European participants can apply for financial support provided by INFRAFRONTIER-I3. 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 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 customers 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?

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 external 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 institute 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.