Rat Resource and Research Center

Grant Number: P40 OD011062

Research Emphasis/Objectives

The Rat Resource and Research Center (RRRC) provides the biomedical community with ready access to valuable rat strains/stocks, embryonic stem cells, and other related services that enhance the use of rats in research and shift the burden for maintaining and distributing rat models from individual investigators to a centralized repository where high standards of genetic quality control and health monitoring can be maintained to maximize research reproducibility.

Current Research

Research efforts are focused on improving cryopreservation and in vitro fertilization in the rat, generating new rat models needed by the research community, and characterizing the gut microbiota of rat models to better understand its impact on model phenotypes.

Services Provided

Animals

The RRRC imports high-quality, well-characterized rat strains and stocks from donating investigators using an online application process and active recruitment of valuable models. High-demand strains are rederived to a pathogen-free state and distributed as live animals. Low-demand strains are cryopreserved as germplasm and are cryorecovered upon request. All strains/stocks imported and exported from the RRRC are subjected to rigorous genetic analysis and health monitoring. The RRRC is an approved vendor for many institutions.

Biological Materials

Germline competent rat embryonic stem cell lines, including several on different genetic backgrounds and several containing EGFP, are available. Germplasm (embryos and/or spermatozoa) and genomic DNA are available from rat strains/stocks. Tissue or organ samples from specific strains can be collected, preserved, and/or fixed to the investigator’s specifications.

Fee-for-Service

A number of services are available on a fee-for-service basis. The RRRC encourages research collaborations with investigators and can provide consultation on colony management, husbandry, reproductive biology, gamete and embryo cryopreservation, genetics, model generation, and characterization, including phenotyping, histopathology, and behavioral testing.

Cryopreservation and Cryostorage

Cryopreservation and cryostorage of sperm and embryos is performed routinely for the strains/stocks donated to the RRRC, and these services are available to investigators for non-RRRC strains as insurance against loss of valuable models or to generate banks of frozen material for use to refresh foundation colonies to minimize genetic drift.

Rederivation and Cryo-Resuscitation

Embryo transfer or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used to resuscitate and rederive strains/stocks. Investigators receive recovered litters with confirmed genetics and a pathogen-free health status.

Colony Management and Breeding Services

The RRRC can maintain small colonies of rats for investigators who may not have the expertise or facility space to do so. Other services include moving genetic mutations to new genetic backgrounds using a speed congenic approach, timed matings and embryo collection.

Genetic Testing

Services available for both RRRC and non-RRRC rats include, but are not limited to, genotyping (standard PCR, PCR followed by restriction endonuclease digest or nucleotide sequence analysis, RT-PCR, qPCR, and probe-based allelic discrimination), sex determination assays, genotyping assay development, validation/optimization of genotyping assays, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, speed congenic assay development, fluorescent in situ hybridization, and karyotyping.

Microinjection Services

The RRRC can perform microinjection of zygotes to produce transgenic rats or genetically modified rats using CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technologies.

Generation of Rat Models

In partnership with the MU Animal Modeling Core (research.missouri.edu/animal-modeling), the RRRC can assist with the design and generation of transgenic rats, create knock-out and knock-in rats using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and genetically manipulate rat embryonic stem cells to make chimeric animals.

Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

The RRRC can assist with the isolation and characterization, including testing for germline competency, of new embryonic stem cells from rat strains of interest.

Pathology

Available services include, but are not limited to, pathogen detection through a collaborating diagnostic laboratory (IDEXX BioResearch), gross necropsy examination, tissue collection, and histopathologic evaluation of tissues.

Microbiota Analysis

Services available for RRRC and non-RRRC rats include, but are not limited to, targeted 16S rRNA microbiome characterization and analysis, consultation on the impact of differing microbiota on model phenotype and reproducibility, manipulation of microbiomes through rederivation or fecal transplants, and collaborative studies assessing the impact of microbiome on model phenotypes.

Training

The RRRC is affiliated with the University of Missouri (MU) Comparative Medicine Program (cmp.missouri.edu), a training program for veterinarians pursuing careers in biomedical research. Externships for veterinary students and post-D.V.M. trainees are available through the MU Comparative Medicine Program.

Contact Information

Rat Resource and Research Center
Room S118
4011 Discovery Drive
Columbia, MO 65201
rrrc.us

Principal Investigator

Elizabeth Bryda, Ph.D.
Phone: 573-882-5504
Fax: 573-882-9857
brydae@missouri.edu

Resource/Additional Resource Contact

RRRC Customer Service
Phone: 888-673-3444 or 573-884-6076
rrrc@missouri.edu

Reproductive Services

Yuksel Agca, D.V.M., Ph.D.
agcay@missouri.edu

Health Monitoring and Pathology

Craig Franklin, D.V.M., Ph.D.
franklinc@missouri.edu

Metagenomics

Aaron Ericsson, D.V.M., Ph.D.
ericssona@missouri.edu

Last updated: 11-04-2022