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NIEHS Launches Center for Rodent Genetics With 'Resequencing Project'

A new $13-million "Resequencing Project" will map the DNA of 15 mouse strains important to lab research on human health. The project is the first for NIEHS's new Center for Rodent Genetics, an extension of ongoing efforts to understand the genetic basis for differences in drug response and other environmental factors.

NIEHS's deputy scientific director Dr. Bill Schrader, who directs the center, said knowing the organization of the mouse genome is a key component in identifying those gene-environment interactions that are linked to disease in humans.

Dr. Bill Schrader
Nearly all human genes have counterparts in mice. Almost 200 human diseases are affected by exposure to environmental substances. Researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the complex interplay among genes that results in the development of disease.

The mouse strains will be sequenced in parallel, and inter-strain comparison will begin immediately. Their entire genomes are expected be complete within the next 2 years.

The Resequencing Project will be conducted through a 2-year contract with Perlegen Sciences, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.

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