The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) is an international effort by 19 research institutions to identify the function of every protein-coding gene in the mouse genome.
The entire genome of many species has now been published and whole genome sequencing is becoming relatively quick and cheap to complete. Despite these advancements the function of the majority of genes remains unknown.
The IMPC’s mission is to fill this knowledge gap and create a comprehensive catalogue of mammalian gene function that is freely available for researchers.
To achieve this, the IMPC is systematically switching off or ‘knocking out’ each of the roughly 20,000 genes that make up the mouse genome. Subsequently, the knock out mice undergo standardised physiological tests (phenotyping tests) across a range of biological systems in order to infer gene function, before the data is made freely available to the research community on our website.
IMPC data can be used in a variety of ways, such as to investigate basic biology mechanisms that can lead to new therapeutic targets or to narrow down a suspected list of genes in patients. In the last few years the IMPC have made major discoveries in parts of the genome that were hitherto unexplored, with new genes discovered that relate to areas such as deafness, diabetes, and several rare diseases.
The overall aim of the project is not only to develop insight into the function of every gene, but also to provide transformative insights into the genetic basis of disease that will impact upon clinical diagnosis and management and ultimately prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease.