Mouse genome will help identify causes of environmental disease

July 30, 2007

Research on the DNA of 15 mouse strains commonly used in biomedical studies is expected to help scientists determine the genes related to susceptibility to environmental disease. The body of data is now publicly available in a catalog of genetic variants, which displays the data as a mouse haplotype map, a tool that separates chromosomes in to many small segments, helping researchers find genes and genetic variations in mice that may affect health and disease.

The haplotype map appearing online in the July 29th issue of Nature is the first published full descriptive analysis of the “Mouse Genome Resequencing and SNP Discovery Project” conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“These data allow researchers to compare the genetic makeup of one mouse strain to another, and perform the necessary genetic analyses to determine why some individuals might be more susceptible to disease than another. This puts us one step closer to understanding individual susceptibility to environmental toxins in humans. We also hope that pharmaceutical companies developing new treatments for environmental diseases will find these data and this paper as a valuable resource,” said David A. Schwartz. M.D., NIEHS Director.

The paper describes in detail the laborious and technology-driven approaches that were used to identify 8.27 million high quality SNPs distributed among the genomes of 15 mouse strains. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs (known as snips), are single genetic changes, or variations, that can occur in a DNA sequence.

Much of the project was conducted through a contract between the National Toxicology Program at NIEHS and Perlegen Sciences, Inc. of Mountain View Calif.

“The database of mouse genetic variation should facilitate a wide range of important biological studies, and helps demonstrate the utility of this array technology approach,” said David R. Cox, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Perlegen Sciences, Inc.

The Perlegen scientists used C57BL/6J the first mouse strain to undergo DNA sequencing as their standard reference to conduct the re-sequencing on the four wild-derived and eleven classical mouse strains. The technology used, the oligonucleotide array, was also used to discover common DNA variation in the human genome.

The arrays looked at about 1.49 billion bases (58 percent) of the 2.57 billion base pair of their standard reference strain. The data were then used to develop the haplotype map which contains 40,898 segments.

“The data will be a valuable resource to many, including the National Toxicology Program,” Schwartz says. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is an interagency program, headquartered at NIEHS, with the mission to coordinate, conduct and communicate toxicological research across the U.S. government.

“The NTP is looking forward to exploring the responses of these strains of mice to various environmental agents,” said John Bucher, Ph.D., the new associate director of the NTP.

Frank M. Johnson, Ph. D., an NTP research geneticist and one of the authors of the Nature paper, adds that systematically characterizing even more mouse strains for susceptibility to toxins will not only help with genetic analysis, but better position researchers to do intervention studies.

Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Explore further: Single-cell analysis reveals diverse landscape of genetic changes in the brain after a sensory experience

Related Stories

Single-cell analysis reveals diverse landscape of genetic changes in the brain after a sensory experience

February 8, 2018
"Nature and nurture is a convenient jingle of words, for it separates under two distinct heads the innumerable elements of which personality is composed. Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; nurture ...

Study finds genetic link between thinner corneas and increased risk of glaucoma

January 25, 2018
Genetic studies in mice point to a protein called POU6F2, which can modulate corneal thickness, as a possible risk factor for glaucoma in humans, report Eldon Geisert of Emory University, and colleagues, January 25th in PLOS ...

Researchers cure lung fibrosis in mice with a gene therapy that lengthens telomeres

January 30, 2018
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a potentially lethal disease associated with the presence of critically short telomeres, currently lacking effective treatment. The Telomere and Telomerase Group at the Spanish National Cancer ...

A new therapeutic avenue for Parkinson's disease

January 23, 2018
Systemic clearing of senescent astrocytes prevents Parkinson's neuropathology and associated symptoms in a mouse model of sporadic disease, the type implicated in 95% of human cases. Publishing in Cell Reports, researchers ...

Study shows how body prevents potentially useful bacteria from causing disease

February 7, 2018
A new study reveals a mechanism by which the immune system may decide whether a bacterial species is a partner in bodily processes or an invader worthy of attack.

Studies offer no clear answers on safety of cellphone use

February 2, 2018
Two government studies that bombarded rats and mice with cellphone radiation found a weak link to some heart tumors, but scientists and federal regulators say don't worry—it is still safe to use your device.

Recommended for you

Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure

February 15, 2018
Analyzing the genetics and smoking habits of more than half a million people has shed new light on the complexities of controlling blood pressure, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of ...

New mutation linked to ovarian cancer can be passed down through dad

February 15, 2018
A newly identified mutation, passed down through the X-chromosome, is linked to earlier onset of ovarian cancer in women and prostate cancer in father and sons. Kunle Odunsi, Kevin H. Eng and colleagues at Roswell Park Comprehensive ...

A gene that increases the risk of pancreatic cancer controls inflammation in normal tissue

February 14, 2018
Inflammation is a defensive response of the body to pathogens, but when it persists, it can be harmful, even leading to cancer. Hence, it is crucial to understand the relationship between inflammation and cancer. A group ...

Scientists develop low-cost way to build gene sequences

February 13, 2018
A new technique pioneered by UCLA researchers could enable scientists in any typical biochemistry laboratory to make their own gene sequences for only about $2 per gene. Researchers now generally buy gene sequences from commercial ...

New insights into gene underlying circadian rhythms

February 13, 2018
A genetic modification in a "clock gene" that influences circadian rhythm produced significant changes in the length and magnitude of cycles, providing insight into the complex system and giving scientists a new tool to further ...

Clues to aging found in stem cells' genomes

February 13, 2018
Little hints of immortality are lurking in fruit flies' stem cells.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.