CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a scientific mouse genetics library called the Collaborative Cross is providing resources that will help speed health discoveries.
A common complaint about using animal models in scientific study is that some research doesn't carry over when applied to humans, Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena of the University of North Carolina Department of Genetics and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center said Thursday.
The Collaborative Cross resource hopes to answer this complaint by mirroring the diversity of human genetics in the laboratory mouse population.
"The Collaborative Cross contains ten times the genetic diversity of a typical laboratory mouse population -- a level equivalent to the natural genetic variation in humans," the UNC School of Medicine said Thursday in a release.
The genetic diversity is spread out across the genome of the Collaborative Cross, while the limited ancestry of typical laboratory mice means that about half of the genome lacks good data for geneticists.
"The Collaborative Cross fills in those gaps, and the result for scientists is a fast track to understanding and testing new treatment and prevention approaches for numerous human diseases with an underlying genetic component," the release said.
Pardo-Manuel de Villena is lead author of a paper published in the journal Genetics that provides the first comprehensive description of the mouse genome library, which is being shared with other scientists through an online resource called a genome browser.
"It is important that all scientists have free access to this resource, which is a census of every genetic line we have and consolidates the work of researchers in the U.S., Israel and Australia in one central place," Pardo-Manuel de Villena said.
The Genetic Society of America said the international consortium developing these mouse populations includes the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, The Jackson Laboratory, Tel Aviv University, Oxford University and Geniad/Australia. The mice are housed at UNC-Chapel Hill.