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New lab mice cut search for genetic links to disease by more than a decade
Date:4/5/2012

ty in humans influences diseases and helps researchers track their genetic causes. According to Prof. Iraqi, the fact that humans have many genetic variances for the same gene means that they are "outbred" among individuals from different families. To best identify the genes that cause a disease, scientists require a test population with these same variances.

But standard strains of lab mice are inbred. Their genetic similarities make it difficult to identify the connection between particular traits and the specific genes responsible. The Collaborative Cross project answers this deficiency in lab mice by increasing genetic variation as much as possible a powerful and unique resource for research.

In order to develop a genetically enriched population of lab mice, the researchers took five classic inbred strains of mice and mixed them with three wild-derived strains, mating brothers and sisters for generations in order to reshuffle the genetic deck but keep the genotype consistent. With an increased range of traits, including differences in appearance such as fur color and tail length, this new mouse population more closely mimics the genetic diversity of humans, says Prof. Iraqi.

Building a better mouse

The various genetic strains are housed within participating universities across the world, notes Prof. Iraqi, and are already available for order by researchers. Within Tel Aviv University's laboratories, there are currently genetic mapping projects for a variety of diseases, including diabetes, various types of cancers, dental infections, bacterial infections, and fungal infections all making use of these genetically enriched mice.

Prof. Iraqi has already used the new mouse population to identify a group of genes that are crucial to susceptibility to infection when exposed to Aspergillus fumigatus, a soil fungus that causes respiratory infections in humans. Getting to this point took only a year compared to t
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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