A history of mice.

mouse_genealogies.jpg

Well, not all mice–not like the project that studied the history of cats (I can haz domesticashun?). This project examined the ancestry of the laboratory inbred mouse. This poster (small section on the left) is one of those cool nearly-secret things you come across once in a while that just make you go: whew–I’m glad somebody knows this… This work was underway when I was at the Jackson Lab and I often think back to it when I read mouse papers, and you can print up the whole document as a poster (it’s a big PDF). I’m not going to link to the PDF itself, please go to this page at Jax: Genealogy Chart of Inbred Strains and click the downloadable Portable Document Format (PDF) file link for to examine this whole mouse pedigree chart.

From the paper:

We describe the origins and relationships of inbred mouse strains, 90 years after the generation of the first inbred strain.

The paper is actually quite a nice description of the how we got to the mice you probably know and love if you have ever worked with them in the lab. It describes important phenotypic considerations around aging and breeding that could impact your work–even if those topics are not the focus of your work.


Of course, this paper is not recent–but it is classic, and I wanted to highlight it for that classic nature. Even if some of the individual inbred strains shifted around with more molecular analysis, the fundamentals of the history of inbred mice are important to know about.

If you are working with mice, trying to select mice for experiments, or trying to interpret different results on different strains of mice this might be useful to think about. Another thing that people often ask about are known SNPs among strains. Jax has a very useful form to query for that. From their brand-new-just-released-today homepage: http://www.informatics.jax.org/ if you click the link for Strains and SNPs you will access tools that can show you exactly which alleles appear in which species. Good stuff.
Fisher, E.M., Beck, J.A., Lloyd, S., Hafezparast, M., Lennon-Pierce, M., Eppig, J.T., Festing, M.F. (2000). . Nature Genetics, 24(1), 23-25. DOI: 10.1038/71641

3 thoughts on “A history of mice.

  1. Mary

    I just thought of something else you might need as well–colony management software. The Jackson Lab has a free suite for that:

    The Jackson Laboratory’s Colony Management System that they describe as “a multi-user relational database management system for managing animal colonies in a research environment. It was developed in response to increased demand within the lab for a system that would execute the core functionality of colony management from an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.”

    There are others as well, but you may not need this at all if your breeding facility already has this taken care of.

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