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Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Mar;3(3):243-52.

Congenic mice: cutting tools for complex immune disorders.

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Institut Pasteur, Unité Génétique Moléculaire Murine, 25 rue du Docteur Roux, 75015 Paris, France.


Autoimmune diseases are, in general, under complex genetic control and subject to strong interactions between genetics and the environment. Greater knowledge of the underlying genetics will provide immunologists with a framework for study of the immune dysregulation that occurs in such diseases. Ascertaining the number of genes that are involved and their characterization have, however, proven to be difficult. Improved methods of genetic analysis and the availability of a draft sequence of the complete mouse genome have markedly improved the outlook for such research, and they have emphasized the advantages of mice as a model system. In this review, we provide an overview of the genetic analysis of autoimmune diseases and of the crucial role of congenic and consomic mouse strains in such research.

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