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Wild Mice As Bountiful Resources of Novel Genetic Variants for Quantitative Traits

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 4 ]


Akira Ishikawa   Pages 225 - 229 ( 5 )


Most traits of biological importance, including traits for human complex diseases (e.g., obesity and diabetes), are continuously distributed. These complex or quantitative traits are controlled by multiple genetic loci called QTLs (quantitative trait loci), environments and their interactions. The laboratory mouse has long been used as a pilot animal model for understanding the genetic architecture of quantitative traits. Next-generation sequencing analyses and genomewide SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) analyses of mouse genomes have revealed that classical inbred strains commonly used throughout the world are derived from a few fancy mice with limited and non-randomly distributed genetic diversity that occurs in nature and also indicated that their genomes are predominantly Mus musculus domesticus in origin. Many QTLs for a huge variety of traits have so far been discovered from a very limited gene pool of classical inbred strains. However, wild M. musculus mice consisting of five subspecies widely inhabit areas all over the world, and hence a number of novel QTLs may still lie undiscovered in gene pools of the wild mice. Some of the QTLs are expected to improve our understanding of human complex diseases. Using wild M. musculus subspecies in Asia as examples, this review illustrates that wild mice are untapped natural resources for valuable QTL discovery.


Classical inbred strain, Genetic resources, Natural variation, Quantitative trait, QTL, Wild mice.


Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Division of Applied Genetics and Physiology, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan.

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