Courtesy of Dnaform Inc. and RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center (GSC)

Geneticists subject to late-night bouts of inspiration generally have to write down their good ideas. It's not as if you could just walk across the room, get the gene you need for your experiment, and start your PCR.

Or can you? If your lab can afford to spend roughly $15,000 (£7,200, academic price) for the RIKEN Mouse Genome Encyclopedia DNABook, maybe you can. The loose-leaf volume contains 60,770 cDNA mouse clones spotted on paper.

"You can literally walk over to the bookshelf, pull the book down, and start your experiment within 20 minutes of having that idea. That is just unheard of," says Thomas Weaver, CEO of Cambridge, UK-based Geneservice http://www.geneservice.co.uk. Geneservice recently entered into an agreement to distribute the mouse DNABook, the result of a decade-long effort to combine 246 separate mouse genomic libraries.

Originally developed in 2003...

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