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Posts tagged ‘MRC Mary Lyon Centre’

Remembering Mary Lyon and her impact on mouse genetics

Dr Mary Lyon, an important figure in the field of mouse genetics, died in December. Here Katherine Nightingale looks back on her career, from a ‘titular’ degree to her impact on generations of scientists, via a discovery in the early 1960s which explained a fundamental difference between men and women in the inheritance of disease.

A portrait of Mary Lyon by artist Dr Lizzie Burns

A portrait of Mary Lyon by artist Dr Lizzie Burns (Image copyright: Dr Lizzie Burns)

It’s not often that the MRC names a building after a scientist, even with our roll-call of scientific greats. But at MRC Harwell in Oxfordshire, the MRC Mary Lyon Centre teems with life — murine life that is. Opened in 2004, the centre is a national facility for mouse genetics where genetically modified mice are produced, cared for and studied.

Mary Lyon, who died on Christmas day 2014 aged 89, worked with mice throughout her scientific career, becoming one of the foremost geneticists of the 20th century through her research on mice with mutated genes. She made her most famous discovery, named ‘lyonisation’ in her honour, during her time at MRC Harwell.   Read more

Video: Using mice in hearing research

How are mice helping with hearing research? Professor Steve Brown, the Director of the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, carries out research investigating the genetic basis of deafness by changing specific genes in mice to find out their role in hearing. His work has led to the identification of a potential new treatment for glue ear in children. Here he describes the work of the MRC Mary Lyon Centre and shows us a hearing experiment in which an anaesthetised mouse is tested for its response to a particular tone.

[Video link for access.]