Oak Ridge researchers build mouse community to mimic human diversity

Oak Ridge researchers build mouse community to mimic human diversity

March 31, 2007

OAK RIDGE (AP) -- The Russell Laboratory for Comparative and Functional Genomics at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is known commonly as "the mouse house."

That's where researchers are building a mouse collection that resembles the human population in its diversity.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill geneticist David Threadgill says this first-of-its-kind international project could become a platform for a new way of looking at human biology using mice.

Mice have long been used as laboratory substitutes for humans. They reproduce quickly, are easily mutated and on a genetic level are about 85 percent identical to people.

Researchers say the common approach of examining one mouse gene at a time fails to address the genetic and environmental complexity of human diseases and conditions such as obesity, diabetes, alcoholism and aging.

Threadgill says the result of the project at the mouse house will be like taking representatives of each racial group from each geographical region and putting them together.

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