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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Jan;98(1):371-9.

Rat Phenome Project: the untapped potential of existing rat strains.

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Institute of Laboratory Animals, Kyoto University, Graduate School of Medicine, Yoshidakonoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


The National Bio Resource Project for the Rat in Japan collects, preserves, and distributes rat strains. More than 250 inbred strains have been deposited thus far into the National Bio Resource Project for the Rat and are maintained as specific pathogen-free rats or cryopreserved embryos. We are now comprehensively characterizing deposited strains as part of the Rat Phenome Project to reevaluate their value as models of human diseases. Phenotypic data are being collected for 7 categories and 109 parameters: functional observational battery (neurobehavior), behavior studies, blood pressure, biochemical blood tests, hematology, urology, and anatomy. Furthermore, genotypes are being determined for 370 simple sequence-length polymorphism markers distributed through the whole rat genome. Here, we report these large-scale, high-throughput screening data that have already been collected for 54 rat strains. This comprehensive, original phenotypic data can be systematically viewed by "strain ranking" for each parameter. This allows investigators to explore the relationship between several rat strains, to identify new rat models, and to select the most suitable strains for specific experiments. The discovery of several potential models for human diseases, such as hypertension, hypotension, renal diseases, hyperlipemia, hematological disorders, and neurological disorders, illustrates the potential of many existing rat strains. All deposited strains and obtained data are freely available for any interested researcher worldwide at

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