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Trends Genet. 2003 Jan;19(1):24-31.

Wild mice: an ever-increasing contribution to a popular mammalian model.

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  • 1Unité de Génétique des Mammifères, Institut Pasteur, 75724 Cedex 15, Paris, France.


Classical laboratory inbred strains of mice have been extremely helpful for research in immunology and oncology, and more generally, for the analysis of complex traits. Unfortunately, because they all derive from a relatively small pool of ancestors, their genetic polymorphism is rather limited. However, recently strains belonging to different species of Mus have been established from wild progenitors. These are an interesting addition to the arsenal of mouse geneticists, because they can be crossed with classical laboratory strains to produce viable and fertile offspring with a large number of polymorphisms of natural origin. These strains are helpful for making genome annotations because they permit highly refined genotype-phenotype correlations. They also allow the interpretation of molecular variation within a clear evolutionary framework. In this article, we provide examples with the aim of promoting the use of these new strains.

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