Orofacial clefting is one of the most common birth defects in humans, affecting approximately 1 in 700 live births. This frequency highlights the complexity of craniofacial morphogenesis, which requires precise regulation of gene expression changes, alterations in cell physiology and morphogenic movements. The mouse has played an instrumental role in advancing our understanding of the mechanisms that govern mid- face and palate development. Future progress, however, will require an increasingly sophisticated set of genetic models and tools. The overall goal of this project is to facilitate orofacial clefting research by generating new mouse genetic tools and by providing a repository of mouse strains critical for clefting research community. First, we will generate both inducible and constitutive Cre recombinase driver lines as new genetic tools. These new mouse strains will be designed specifically to support orofacial clefting research, with input from members of the Face Base consortium. These lines will be characterized in our established pipeline for evaluation and quality control of Cre-expressing mouse strains. Second, we will provide a repository for importation, cryopreservation, genetic quality control, and distribution of new and existing mouse models and tool strains important for orofacial clefting research. Such strains will include genetically engineered, spontaneously occurring, and ENU-induced models. New models for orofacial clefting will be actively solicited from members of the Face Base consortium and from the scientific community at large. We will create a public website for the Jackson Face Base Repository to promote the use of this resource and to facilitate access to mouse models and tools for orofacial research. Together, these projects will provide both Face Base members and the general scientific community with new research tools, novel genetic models, and comprehensive mouse repository services to enhance research in orofacial clefting.

Public Health Relevance

Orofacial clefting is one of the most common birth defects in humans;causes are both genetic and environmental. Discovery of the genetic cause of disease in human populations is difficult due to extreme heterogeneity in humans and to the diversity of environmental and nutritional variables. Consequently, genetic tools and animal models with defined genetic backgrounds and controlled environments are important for understanding genetic regulation of mid-face and palate development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDE1-JH (24))
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Scholnick, Steven
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Jackson Laboratory
Bar Harbor
United States
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Murray, Stephen A (2011) Mouse resources for craniofacial research. Genesis 49:190-9
Hochheiser, Harry; Aronow, Bruce J; Artinger, Kristin et al. (2011) The FaceBase Consortium: a comprehensive program to facilitate craniofacial research. Dev Biol 355:175-82