Request for Information (RFI): Need for Biologic Reagents, Imaging, Genetic and Cognitive Behavioral Assessment Tools to Facilitate the Use of Marmosets in Biomedical Research

Notice Number: NOT-AG-19-045

Key Dates
Release Date: October 7, 2019

Related Announcements
NOT-AG-20-001

Issued by
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)?

Purpose

This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input on current challenges and key bottlenecks in the use of marmosets as animal models in biomedical research. The principal objectives include identification of the needs for species-specific biologic reagents, genetic and behavioral analytic tools and technologies, and other crucial resources that would advance the use of marmosets in research and facilitate the translation of modalities in this organism.

Background

Nonhuman primates (NHP) are the closest evolutionary relatives of humans, with whom they share anatomical, physiological, and gene interactions features. The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is of increasing importance for biomedical research worldwide. This New World primate is known for cooperative social behavior, cognition, and communication, which potentially makes it a good model organism to help understand a wide range of human diseases. Marmosets are smaller and easier to house than rhesus macaques and give birth twice a year versus once every year or two years, aiding multi-generational experiments. Because marmosets mature and age more quickly than bigger monkeys, they are potentially also a good model organism to study development and aging. As a nonhuman primate species with several unique reproductive, physiological, and behavioral advantages, marmosets are uniquely positioned to accelerate progress in biomedical research. Additionally, the marmoset’s brain has fewer gyri than a macaque’s, making it easier to image or record activity from its surface.

The marmoset as a research model has enjoyed substantial growth over the past decade largely through grass-roots, researcher-initiated projects. While these ventures have been remarkably productive, several bottlenecks must be addressed for the model to reach its full potential as a keystone system for addressing NIH’s stated goal to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability in humans.

In response to the unprecedented growth in demand for marmosets following reports of genome editing and successful propagation of transgenes in marmoset offspring, NIH has launched new initiatives (cooperative agreements) to expand the number of marmoset colonies and to optimize their housing, breeding, and use in research.

NIH is now seeking stakeholder feedback to guide the development of priorities to accelerate research using marmosets as models of human diseases and to facilitate the translation of these findings into human conditions and treatment. This Notice seeks to solicit public comment on the challenges, gap areas, and bottlenecks experienced by the marmoset research community. Feedback obtained through this Notice and other outreach efforts will help to inform the development of research and infrastructure priorities for biomedical research involving marmosets as a model organism.

Information Requested

Stakeholder feedback is requested on any or all, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Development and distribution of key biological reagents and tools that would facilitate the use of marmosets as animal models and accelerate translation of results
  • Types of tools and biomarkers to facilitate physiological and behavioral studies in marmosets
  • The reference genome and sequence annotation are expected to be available to the research community soon--will this be sufficient?
  • Identified needs in relation to improving genetic diversity, animal husbandry, diet, and shipping of animals between sites
  • Information on other key areas where NIH can facilitate research using marmosets

Submitting a Response

All comments must be submitted via email as text or as an attached electronic document. Please address your response to manuel.moro@nih.gov by October 23, 2019. Include the Notice number in the subject line. Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all the categories listed above. The submitted information will be reviewed by NIH staff.

This request is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.

The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may be aggregated in presentations and reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Manuel H. Moro, DVM, MPH, PhD, Dipl ACVPM
Program Director
Division of Aging Biology
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Telephone: 301-480-1796
Email: manuel.moro@nih.gov