New center to map DNA of key lab mice

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will invest $13 million to map the DNA of 15 mouse strains important to laboratory research on human health. This initiative, called the "Resequencing Project" will launch the Institute's Center for Rodent Genetics.

The Center for Rodent Genetics is an extension of the Institute's ongoing research to understand the genetic basis for differences in response to drugs and other environmental factors. Other initiatives include the Environmental Genome Project and the National Center for Toxicogenomics.

"The Resquencing Project has attracted world-wide interest and generated a lot of enthusiasm within the research community," said Kenneth Olden, PhD., director of NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health. "Because the mouse strains will be sequenced in parallel, inter-strain comparison will begin right away, and their entire genomes will be complete within the next two years."

Mouse strains slated for sequencing include: 129S1/SvImJ, A/J, AKR/J, BALB/cByJ, BTBR T+ tf/J, C3H/HeJ, CAST/EiJ, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, MOLF/EiJ, KK/HlJ, NOD/LtJ, NZW/LacJ, PWD/PhJ, and WSB/EiJ. Since these strains will be sequenced in reference to C57BL/6J, this project will yield extensive DNA information on a total of 16 strains.

"Knowing the organization of the mouse genome is a key component to identifying which gene-environment interactions are linked to disease in humans," said Dr. William Schrader, Director of the Center. "We'll start by mapping the DNA of 15 strains of mice most often used by researchers to study susceptibility to specific diseases. Then we can determine which diseases develop because of exposure to factors in the environment."

Almost all human genes have counterparts in mice. By examining the environmental triggers of disease in genetically distinct mice, researchers can gain a better understanding of the relationship between genes and the envi

Contact: John Schelp
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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