The National Institutes of Health awarded Northwestern University $17 million for a five-year project examining functional mouse genomics, one of the largest grants the institution has ever received. Through a technique honed by Joseph S. Takahashi, professor of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern and director of the newly established NIH Neurogenomics Center, random point mutations are introduced using the chemical ENU (N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea), and the mice are screened for specific behaviors, such as response to light and the timing of activity and rest. In 1994, the technique enabled Takahashi, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, to identify the circadian Clock mutant (M.H. Vitaterna et al., "Mutagenesis and mapping of a mouse gene Clock, essential for circadian science behavior," Science, 264:71925, 1994), and in 1997 to clone the gene (D. King et al., "Positional cloning of the mouse circadian Clock gene. Cell 89: 641-653, 1997). "The cloning of...
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