Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

UCLA Researchers Help Complete Mouse Genetic Variation Map

Premium

Mice have been used for decades to study the role that genes play in a range of diseases. But precise data on variation in gene sequences of mice used in the past has remained elusive. Now, thanks to a group of computer scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, an international effort to map mouse genetic variation in 17 commonly used strains of mice is nearly complete.

The study, which was led by groups from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, England, needed some innovative computational assistance to measure and catalogue the full set of variants for all 17 sequences — just the first task on the road to identifying the disease-causing variants. Fortunately, UCLA associate professor Eleazar Eskin had already developed the computational technique called imputation that makes variant predictions where a sequencer fails to do so.

"We were involved in this project due to our previous involvement in a large-scale sequencing study of mouse strains that was performed by Perlegen and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences," Eskin says. "All sequencing projects occasionally fail when trying to measure a variant. In the context of the Perlegen project, we developed an imputation, which predicts data that the sequencer was unable to collect. The idea behind imputation is that there is a lot of correlation in the genetic variation, and if a portion of it is missing, the correlation structure can be utilized to predict the missing data."

In a September Nature paper, the researchers report data confirming that mice have a complex and rich evolutionary history, and demonstrate how the new map can be used to identify allele-specific expression that describes the activity level of a specific gene.

"The study discovered a very large number of variants and the majority of the variants in the mouse strains," he says. "The main advantage of this resource is that it will finally allow us to connect traits to actual genetic variants that cause the differences. Because previously, it was only possible to connect a trait to region of the genome that contained the variant, but not the actual variant."

Filed under

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.