Title: Comparative Review of some mouse web sites. 

URLS:           

Jackson Laboratories: http://jaxmice.jax.org/index.shtml

            Mouse Genome informatics: http://www.informatics.jax.org/

            TBASE: http://tbase.jax.org/

Bio med net: http://research.bmn.com/mkmd

The whole mouse catalogue: http://www.muridae.com/wmc/index.html

 

Descriptions:

 Jackson Lab - site is a comprehensive site including information about mouse strains, mutants and transgenics available.  Literature, protocol and research application information about these strains. 

 

            Mouse genome – This site is run by the Jackson laboratory with in depth information about the mouse genome, its homology to the human genome, genetic and phenotypic information and gene expression information.

 

            TBASE – Another site run by the Jackson Laboratories, this is specific to transgenic animals. This site included a very extensive search form, that allows you to search for exactly what you want, eliminating strains that are not to your specifications.  Options include how the transgene was constructed, the type of recombination (homologous or non homologous), phenotype, and lethality.

 

            Bio med net – This site is more literature based than the Jackson site, but contains similar information.  This site is very useful for literature searches on specific mutations or knockouts.  The results include literature sites, and link to the Mouse Knockout and Mutation Database (MKMD).  This provides a table of information that includes the mutation, locus, geneotype, origin and nature of mutation.  If you are beginning research on a mouse strain or mutation, this is a great place to get literature sites.  The information about the strains is limited, and not nearly as comprehensive as the Jackson site. 

 

            The whole mouse catalogue - provides in depth information about rodents, their use in science, and a large number of links to other mouse information.  This site contains a very different array of information compare to the other sites, it is less focused on specific strains of mice, and more focused on general techniques. 

 

 

Strengths:

            Jackson sites: by separating out the mouse strain information, the mouse genome information and the transgenic information it is easy to quickly find what you are looking for.  All three sites are very comprehensive.  The TBASE site has a number of additional resources including a citation database that allows literature searches on strain or gene information.   Two useful links to recent information about:

 new knockout strains: http://tbase.jax.org/docs/knockout.html and

new models for constructing knockouts: http://tbase.jax.org/docs/monthly.html

Also of note was the TBASE glossary : http://tbase.jax.org/docs/glossary.html that gave definitions of a number of technical terms found in the TBASE entries, much of this was basic information but could be helpful to people new to the mouse or transgene fields.

 

 

Bio med net: The search on this site provided broad information about mouse strains/mutants.   The advanced search allowed you to narrow down the results to your specifications, which eliminated a lot of extraneous information.   

 

The whole mouse catalogue site contains a lot of information that is not available on the other two sites.  A lot of it is basic mouse information including companies that supply mice and equipment, protocols and references for techniques.  It contained a list of recommended books on mouse anatomy, development, infectious diseases, and biomedical research.  

 

Weaknesses:

            Jackson Lab – There are very few weaknesses to this site.  The mouse genome site is not particularly well organized, it contains a large amount of information, but was sometimes difficult to find exactly what I was looking for. 

 

            Bio med net: This site gave a lot of redundant information about strains, it is not very useful to find strain information. In addition the link to MGD and swiss prot did not work.  This site also requires you to register, and results in emails to the user that contain information that I found useless. 

 

The whole mouse catalogue site is not particularly well organized.  I found a lot of information that was very useful, but I spent a lot of time wandering through the site. 

 

 

Comprehensiveness:

            The Jackson sites are all very comprehensive in their field, the combination of the three sites, makes them an all inclusive site. 

 

            The Bio med net site is comprehensive in its coverage of literature about mouse strains and mutations, but lacks complete strain information.  It also contains information about structural databases, technical tips, a journal collection, new information and a link to a well organized science job search site. Its comprehensiveness to the field of mouse mutants is somewhat limited.   

 

            The whole mouse catalogue site is a difficult site to evaluate for comprehensivness.   It certainatly does not contain all the information available about mice or rodents, but it does contain a large number of links that provide comprehensive information about mice and their use in research. 

           

Timeliness:

            The Jackson lab sites are all very up to date, they include information about strains that are currently being made but are not yet available, and new protocols for making knockout or trnasgenics. 

           

            The Bio med net site appears to be up to date, but does not include as much “cutting edge” information as the other sites. 

 

The whole mouse catalogue appears to be kept up to date, however a lot of the information I found interesting is actually older information that is not always easy to find. 

 

Ease of Use:

            The Jackson site is very well organized, and easily traveled. 

 

The Bio med net site is easy to use, it does require registration and a passwod, but this took less than 3 minutes to complete.  

 

           

             The whole mouse catalogue site was an easy site to use, so long as you were prepared to meander through a lot of information. 

 

Responsiveness:

            The Jackson sites were all fast running sites, I did not experience any problems with them.  The searches ran quickly as well.

 

            The Bio med net search engine ran a little slower than Jackson, but it was reasonable. 

 

            The whole mouse catalogue site ran quickly.

 

Similar or Related Sites:

            Information on ordering mice : Charles River Labs: http://www.criver.com/2001cat/doc/intro.htm  This site lacked the detailed information available at Jackson, and the search options.

 

            Transgenic Mice: University of Virginia: http://hsc.virginia.edu/medicine/inter-dis/transgenic-mouse/

                        This is a lab run site, so it is slower and not as comprehensive as the Jackson site, but it does contain helpful information about transgenic animals, including very simple explanations of how transgenic animals are constructed, and what they can be used for. 

 

 

           

Overall Evaluation:

            Jackson Mouse strains:  4 stars   

                        Mouse Genome            3 stars

                        TBASE                        5 stars

           

            Bio Med Net:                                 3 stars

 

The whole mouse catalogue                      3 stars

 

 

Reviwer: Lauren Logsdon