LSCBR: Operational Support for the Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center

Grants and Contracts Details


This project seeks funding to continue operations of the Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center (AGSC) at the University of Kentucky. The AGSC maintains a historically significant collection of Mexican axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) that provide living materials in support of research and educational activities in the US and internationally. Most notably, axolotls are studied because they are unique among vertebrates in being able to perfectly regenerate numerous body parts. These include the spinal cord, limbs, jaw, and tail, all of which can be regenerated at any point during embryonic, larval, and adult life. Also, axolotls are used by researchers that work in many additional areas, including evolution, ecology, conservation biology, ecotoxicology, development, physiology, cell biology, genetics, genomics, and neurobiology. The axolotl provides both an experimental laboratory model and associated research resources to support studies of additional ambystomatid species that are widely distributed in North America and accessible to US researchers. Intellectual Merit. The primary goal of the previous award was to establish the axolotl collection at UK. This goal was accomplished while innovating a new infrastructure for performing axoloti care using automated systems, adding an important new transgenic (GFP) stock, adapting to new user patterns, and mitigating animal care issues. Over the next 5 years the AGSC will continue to provide high quality stocks that enable research areas where the axoloti is the best vertebrate model organism. Broader Impacts. The AGSC provides a unique resource and disseminates information about the axolotl to a broad spectrum of society. Over the last 5 years, the AGSC involved 50 undergraduate students in the project as animal care and facility workers. This included 3 1 females and 19 males, 5 of which are minorities. Thus, this project involves students in the mission of biological research and education, and the objectives of the NSF Living Stocks Program. Also, AGSC staff led> 50 tours of the AGSC, provided public lectures upon request, wrote articles and a book chapter to promote axolotls in research, and provided commentary, pictures, and video to the media in support of axolotl publications and news reports. Finally, the AGSC serves as an informatics hub where investigators obtain information about the collection, technical procedures, potential collaborators, and research findings.
Effective start/end date6/1/105/31/15


  • National Science Foundation: $1,311,308.00


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