Mouse DNA to aid biomedical research

Researchers announced today that they have successfully resequenced the DNA of 15 mouse strains most commonly used in biomedical research. More than 8.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were discovered among the genomes of the 15 mouse strains and the data are now publicly available. These new data will help researchers better understand complex genetic traits, such as why some individuals are more susceptible to certain diseases, and will serve as a valuable resource in determining how environmental agents influence the development of disease.

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs (known as "snips"), are single genetic changes, or variations, that can occur within a DNA sequence. Because mice and humans share many of the same fundamental biological and behavioral processes, including gene functions, these data will help researchers understand human genetic susceptibility to almost 200 diseases such as Parkinson's, cancer, diabetes, heart and lung diseases, reproductive diseases, and asthma and other childhood diseases, which are affected by exposure to environmental substances.

"Making this wealth of data freely available to the research community is a significant milestone," said David A. Schwartz. M.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research. "Each mouse strain is genetically unique. Now that we know the DNA variations for these mouse strains, we can compare the genetic makeup of one strain that acquires a certain disease to another strain that does not get the same disease. In this way researchers gain insight into the same processes that may cause one human to get a disease while another human in the same environment remains disease-free."

The "Resequencing and SNP Discovery Project" began less than two years ago through a contract between the National Toxicology Program at NIEHS and Perlegen Sciences

Contact: Robin Mackar
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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