The common laboratory mouse is not what we thought it was, said coauthor Gary Churchill, Ph.D., a Jackson Laboratory senior staff scientist. Weve established that laboratory mice are derived almost entirely from a single subspecies, not three as previously believed.
The Jackson Laboratory is a world-wide source for more than 3,000 genetically defined mice.
With support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, the researchers analyzed lineage and sequence variation based on the most extensive genetic data sets of inbred mouse strains. This information came from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
In testing the Y chromosomes and mitochondria for ancestry, the researchers found that the mouse strains were not offspring of their the putative fathers and mothers.
The researchers concluded that the NIEHS data set, despite its exceptional size, density and qualitycaptures only a fraction of the variation present in the laboratory mouse.
Said Pardo-Manuel, if one is studying mouse strains for responses to particular drugs, you make assumptions that the strains have certain pedigrees. If they dont, what you are doing may not mean anything.
He pointed out that the new knowledge of increased variation will enable scientists to conduct studies of genetic variation across the entire mouse genome.
We plan to examine how many of the 8.3 million variants are actually knocking out genes, making them nonfunctional. If we already have that information from nature, we can actually go and ask about the function of these genes and what their implications are for disease, he said.