Diversity Study with Mice
The Tennessean reported that at the Russell Laboratory for Comparative and Functional Genomics, commonly known as "the mouse house," researchers are building a mouse collection that resembles the human population in its diversity, group leader Elissa Chesler said. Geneticist David Threadgill said that this first-of-its-kind, international project could become a platform for, "a new way of looking at human biology using the mouse as a model." This project is a collaboration between about 300 geneticists from around the world and their plan is to creat 1,000 distinct lines of mice from eight original breeds.
The Associated Press reported that mice have long been used as laboratory substitues for humans. Mice reproduce quickly and are easily mutated. On a genetic level they are about 85 percent identical people. The common approach of examining one mouse gene at a time fails to address the genetice and environmental complexity of human diseases and conditions (i.e. obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, and aging), said researchers. The result of the project will be taking representatives of each racial gruop from each geographical region and putting them together Threadgill said.