A new genetic resource from an international research consortium is expected to accelerate the development of new cures and treatments for a wide range of human diseases. This project, called the mouse "Collaborative Cross" (CC) resource, will increase the likelihood that experiments conducted in mice will advance our understanding of human biology. The mice in the CC have 90 percent of the genetic diversity present in laboratory mice, which mirrors the genetic diversity in humans. This will enable researchers to study traits and human diseases of complex origins in an appropriate model system.
Key findings arising from the CC will be published in February 2012 as a series of articles across both scientific journals published by the Genetics Society of America (GSA): GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. The 15 articles highlight the contributions of the CCand a companion mouse resource called the "Diversity Outbred" (DO) resourceto a number of important areas of human health. The MCC and DO are already shedding light on the genes influencing HDL cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, glucose, and variation in hematological traits like red and white blood cell counts, reactions to the influenza A virus, and mouse brain reaction to clozapine, a drug used for schizophrenia.
According to Dr. Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Genetics and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center), one of the primary leaders of the CC, "A common complaint about using animal models has been the fact that some research doesn't carry over when applied to humans. The Collaborative Cross resource hopes to answer this complaint."
"Genetic causes may underlie many idiosyncratic adverse drug reactions," explained Dr. Gary Churchill (The Jackson Laboratory), another leader of the CC project. "Initial screening with this genetically diverse and heterogeneous model
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Genetics Society of America