PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT – Overall Component
Many aspects of human health and disease are genetically complex; that is, they arise from multiple
interactions between genetic, developmental, and environmental factors. Understanding this complexity is the
basis of personalized medicine. Unfortunately, human genetic studies are still limited in a number of ways
including inadequate, retrospective medical records, formidable sample size requirements, insufficient
statistical power to study genetic interactions, and insufficient mechanistic information about many genes.
These obstacles are easily addressed using non-human, mammalian models, such as mice, that are designed
for fine scale dissection of genetic complexity, i.e. systems genetics. The biomedical research community has
made a significant investment in the genetically diverse inbred strains and genetic reference populations of
mice as tools for systems genetics research.
This proposal requests ongoing support for The Special Mouse Strain Resource (SMSR) at The Jackson
Laboratory. The SMSR serves as the biorepository for these unique sets of strains, ensuring permanent and
open access from high health status, quality-controlled, state-of-the-art facilities. The resource currently
consists of more than 300 strains, including the widely used BXD and Collaborative Cross strain panels, but
importantly, the strains available in the SMSR are changed and developed as dictated by the needs of
The major activities of the SMSR are to: i) archive, maintain, and distribute these strains to qualified biomedical
researchers, ii) provide complete, accurate and accessible information related to the mouse resources, iii)
confer with an external advisory board of thought leaders from the complex trait community to define current
and future resources, iv) provide leadership in best practices for research and reproducibility using SMSR
The SMSR also provides infrastructure, outreach and collaborative opportunities for the development of new
tools for complex trait analysis, as well as access to existing strains and populations for large-scale multicenter
projects; and conducts research to expand tools for genetic engineering of specialized mapping strains.