? 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 research community. 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 resources. 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.
Most common human diseases are difficult to study because they are genetically complex. Conducting human genetic studies that include enough subjects with sufficiently detailed data to make definitive conclusions remains challenging, despite significant advances in genome technologies (e.g. DNA sequencing and editing). Most of these obstacles can be overcome by using standardized, genetically diverse laboratory mice, which offer known and reproducible genetic and phenotypic variation. The goal of the Special Mouse Strain Resource at The Jackson Laboratory is to: i) maintain and distribute these unique mouse populations to the biomedical research community, ii) further develop advanced resources for systems genetics and, iii) to provide leadership in best practices for research and reproducibility.
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