Laboratory research has always been limited in terms of what conclusions scientists can safely extrapolate from animal experiments to the human population as a whole. Many promising findings in mice have not held up under further experimentation, in part because laboratory animals, bred from a limited genetic foundation, don't provide a good representation of how genetic diversity manifests in the broader human population.
Now, thanks to an in-depth analysis by a team led by Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD, in the UNC Department of Genetics and Gary Churchill, PhD, at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, researchers will be able to use an online resource dubbed the Mouse Phylogeny Viewer to select from among 162 strains of laboratory mice for which the entire genome has been characterized. Phylogeny refers to the connections among all groups of organisms as understood by ancestor/descendant relationships. Pardo-Manuel de Villena is also a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences.
The results of the analysis that make this tool possible were published online today in the journal Nature Genetics.
"The viewer provides scientists with a visual tool where they can actually go and look at the genome of the mouse strains they are using or considering, compare the differences and similarities between strains and select the ones most likely to provide the basis for experimental results that can be more effectively extrapolated to the diverse human population," said Pardo-Manuel de Villena.
"As scientists use this resource to find ways to prevent and treat the genetic changes that cause cancer, heart disease, and a host of other ailments, the diversity of our lab experiments should be much easier to translate to humans," he noted.
He explains that the DNA of a given pair of typical laboratory mouse strains varies in only half of their genome and captures less than 20 percent of the diversity of the entire mouse genome. Historically, biomedical researchers have relied on what are called classical inbred strains of mice in laboratory research. With the advance of genetic science, researchers began to use wild-derived laboratory strains (descendants of captured wild mice that originate from a small number of original ancestors) to try to overcome issues associated with limited genetic diversity. However, scientists' understanding of genetic diversity in mice has – until now – been limited and biased toward the most frequently used strains.
The team compared the genome of a large and diverse sample including 36 strains of wild-caught mice, 62 wild-derived laboratory strains and 100 classical strains obtained from different stocks and different laboratories using the Mouse Diversity array – a technology that maps the entire mouse genome.
Their analysis exponentially increases the data available to geneticists who work with mice, allowing them to statistically impute the whole mouse genome sequence with very high accuracy for hundreds of laboratory mouse strains – leading to much greater precision in the interpretation of existing biomedical data and optimal selection of strains in future experiments.
The Mouse Phylogeny Viewer is available at http://msub.csbio.unc.edu/.
Other team members include Leonard McMillan, PhD, two graduate students Jeremy Wang and Catherine Welsh from the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science; Timothy Bell, Ryan Buus and graduate student John Didion all from the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Genetics, UNC Lineberger and the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences; Hyuna Yang, PhD, from The Jackson Laboratory; Francois Bonhomme, PhD, and Pierre Boursot, PhD, from the Universite Montpellier (France); Alex Yu, PhD, from the National Taiwan University; Michael Nachman, PhD , from the University of Arizona; Jaroslav Pialek, PhD, from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and Priscilla Tucker, PhD, from the University of Michigan.
The research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health), and several additional National Institutes of Health grants, a Czech Science Foundation grant and a University of North Carolina Bioinformatics and Computational Biology training grant.
Ellen de Graffenreid | EurekAlert!
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences