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PLoS One. 2010 Nov 1;5(11):e13782. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013782.

Laboratory mouse models for the human genome-wide associations.

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  • 1Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


The agnostic screening performed by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has uncovered associations for previously unsuspected genes. Knowledge about the functional role of these genes is crucial and laboratory mouse models can provide such information. Here, we describe a systematic juxtaposition of human GWAS-discovered loci versus mouse models in order to appreciate the availability of mouse models data, to gain biological insights for the role of these genes and to explore the extent of concordance between these two lines of evidence. We perused publicly available data (NHGRI database for human associations and Mouse Genome Informatics database for mouse models) and employed two alternative approaches for cross-species comparisons, phenotype- and gene-centric. A total of 293 single gene-phenotype human associations (262 unique genes and 69 unique phenotypes) were evaluated. In the phenotype-centric approach, we identified all mouse models and related ortholog genes for the 51 human phenotypes with a comparable phenotype in mice. A total of 27 ortholog genes were found to be associated with the same phenotype in humans and mice, a concordance that was significantly larger than expected by chance (p<0.001). In the gene-centric approach, we were able to locate at least 1 knockout model for 60% of the 262 genes. The knockouts for 35% of these orthologs displayed pre- or post-natal lethality. For the remaining non-lethal orthologs, the same organ system was involved in mice and humans in 71% of the cases (p<0.001). Our project highlights the wealth of available information from mouse models for human GWAS, catalogues extensive information on plausible physiologic implications for many genes, provides hypothesis-generating findings for additional GWAS analyses and documents that the concordance between human and mouse genetic association is larger than expected by chance and can be informative.

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