JAX Notes April 01, 2003

Mouse genome sequence released

A high-quality draft sequence and analysis of the C57BL/6J (Stock Number 000664) mouse genome was published in the December 2002 landmark issue of Nature. Jackson Laboratory Senior Staff Scientist Wayne Frankel, Ph.D., and Associate Staff Scientist Carol Bult, Ph.D., are among the more than 200 scientists credited in the Nature mouse genome issue.

Scientists in the publicly funded Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium have pieced together nearly all of the 2.5 gigabase mouse genome sequence which reveals about 30,000 genes, 99% having direct counterparts in humans. "This is a powerful new resource available to the biomedical community," noted Jackson Laboratory Director Rick Woychik, Ph.D. "It will provide radically new ways of understanding human biology and identifying the causes of human diseases and disorders."

The mouse is widely used to model human disease, and a close understanding of the parallels between mouse and human at the genomic level will provide greater understanding at the biological level. The publication of this new draft of the mouse genome will allow scientists at The Jackson Laboratory and around the world to "mine" the mouse genome for genes that cause disease in both mouse and human.

According to Dr. Bult, "Having a publicly available mouse genome sequence draft means we can move from knowing that a general region of the genome is contributing to a disease state or biological process to actually looking at that region and seeing directly what genes are there. It will save investigators months, if not years, of gene-hunting efforts."

The Jackson Laboratory has played a crucial role in the development of the mouse as the leading model for biomedical research. Founded in 1929, the non-profit center pioneered the use of inbred laboratory mice to uncover the genetic bases of human development and disease. Today, its researchers pursue projects in areas that include cancer, development and aging, immune system and blood disorders, neurological and sensory disorders and metabolic diseases. Informatics researchers work with the public sequencing consortium to curate and integrate the sequenced mouse genome data with the biological knowledge collected in the Laboratory’s Mouse Genome Informatics resource.

References:

Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium (Waterston RH, Lindblad-Toh K, Birney E, Rogers J, Bult C, Frankel WN, et al.) Initial sequencing and comparative analysis of the mouse genome. Nature 2002; 420:520-562.