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Mouse genome sequences reveal variability, complex evolutionary history
Date:9/15/2011

MADISON The genome of even a single organism is packed with information. A new paper, building on recent advances in sequencing capability, now reports the complete genomes of 17 different strains of mice, creating an unparalleled genetic resource that will aid studies ranging from human disease to evolution.

An international team of researchers, including University of WisconsinMadison geneticist Bret Payseur, describe in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Nature the genome sequencing and comparison of 17 mouse strains, including several of the most common laboratory strains and four recently derived from wild populations. The resulting database, the largest for any vertebrate model organism, documents the range of genetic variation between mouse strains and its effects on phenotypes and gene regulation.

"Mice are the premier model organism for human disease. We've made a lot of progress in understanding the genetics of common human diseases by studying mice," says Payseur, an associate professor of medical genetics in the UWMadison School of Medicine and Public Health. "Although we've been able to map genomic regions that contribute to disease risk, we haven't known the full spectrum of mutations involved."

The new genetic compendium will help researchers more quickly find the subset of sequence differences responsible for disease and other characters, he adds. The new paper identifies mutations associated with more than 700 biological traits, including diabetes and heart disease.

"We are living in an era where we have thousands of human genomes at our fingertips," says David Adams from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who led the project. "The mouse, and the genome sequences we have generated, will play a critical role in understanding of how genetic variation contributes to disease and will lead us towards new therapies."

In addition to advancing the use of mice as a model for human disease, Payseur says
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Contact: Bret Payseur
payseur@wisc.edu
608-890-0867
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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