Report Confirms Mice Will Continue to Help Study Human Disease and Biology

by Rajashri on Aug 9 2008 3:50 PM

A new review says that mice are "a crucial part of human history" because of their use in helping understand human genetics.

The review by geneticists from Yale University School of Medicine and Fudan University School of Life Sciences suggests that mouse genetics will continue to provide dramatic advances in understanding human biology and disease.

It states that the creation of mice expressing human genes-"humanized" mice-will continue to offer new tools to not only decipher clinical mysteries, but also to test novel therapies and cures.

Duc Nguyen and Tian Xu, authors of the review published in Disease Models and Mechanisms (DMM), discuss many ways in which scientists manipulate mouse genes in order to study their biology.

One such technique involves inserting a segment of DNA sequence into the much lengthier full genome of the mouse.

They review's authors say that these insertable DNA sequences, known as transposons, as well as other genetic tools, allows scientists to disrupt a specific mouse gene, and deduce the gene's function by studying the effect on the mouse.

They hope that the research community can combine the results of extensive mouse studies into a comprehensive library to form a functional map of the mouse genome, which will help researchers navigate and explore the even more extensive human genome to pinpoint the genetic underpinnings of human disease.