An online resource dubbed the 'Mouse Phylogeny Viewer' to help in finding ways to prevent and treat the genetic changes that cause cancer, heart disease and a host of other ailments has been revealed by researchers.
It will also overcome the problem of laboratory animals, bred from a limited genetic foundation, not providing a good representation of how genetic diversity manifests in the broader human population.
A team led by Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena from the UNC Department of Genetics and Gary Churchill from The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine conducted the study.
"The viewer provides scientists with a visual tool where they can actually go and look at the genome of the mouse strains they are using or considering, compare the differences and similarities between strains and select the ones most likely to provide the basis for experimental results that can be more effectively extrapolated to the diverse human population," said Villena.
"As scientists use this resource to find ways to prevent and treat the genetic changes that cause cancer, heart disease, and a host of other ailments, the diversity of our lab experiments should be much easier to translate to humans," he added.
Researchers say that the analysis will increase the data available to geneticists, allowing them to statistically impute the whole mouse genome sequence with very high accuracy for hundreds of laboratory mouse strains.
This will lead to much greater precision in the interpretation of existing biomedical data and optimal selection of strains in future experiments.
The results are published online in the journal Nature Genetics.