JAX Notes July 01, 2009

Diversity Outbred and Collaborative Cross mice offer maximum allelic variation

In its quest to provide even more powerful genetically distinct mouse resources, JAX has developed a population of Diversity Outbred mice (J:DO 009376) designed to maximize allelic variation throughout the genome. Each J:DO mouse is genetically unique and groups of them approximate the genetic diversity found in human populations. Unlike fully inbred strains, Diversity Outbred mice have normal levels of heterozygosity, recapitulating that of humans. J:DO mice enable researchers to rapidly map genetic loci at high resolution and identify individual genes involved in disease.

The Diversity Outbred mice are produced by a novel outbreeding strategy that maintains a balanced mixture of the founder genomes and avoids allelic loss and inbreeding. The J:DO founders are mice from the 160 breeding lines used to construct the Collaborative Cross (Chesler et al. 2008). The Collaborative Cross is a large panel of new inbred mouse strains derived from an eight-way cross using a set of JAX® Mice that includes three wild-derived strains. The progeny of these crosses are currently being inbred to produce the new Collaborative Cross strains. Like the Diversity Outbred mice, the Collaborative Cross strains considerably increase the mapping resolution possible through conventional crosses and provide new strains harboring a mosaic genome with alleles from the eight founder strains (The Complex Traits Consortium 2004; Chesler et al. 2008).

J:DO mice are produced in waves for shipment approximately 3 times per calendar year. (Note: Please see the strain’s datasheet for deadlines for placing orders.)  These mice greatly improve researchers' ability to identify genes that modulate susceptibility to disease and drug resistance, critical steps in our progress toward realizing personalized medicine.


Chesler EJ, et al. 2008. The Collaborative Cross at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: developing a powerful resource for systems genetics. Mamm Genome 19:382-9.