Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientist W. Richard McCombie and his colleagues in the International Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium have published a high-quality draft sequence of the mouse genome, along with a comparative analysis of the mouse and human genomes describing insights gleaned from the two sequences. This landmark study appears in the December 5 issue of the journal Nature.
The laboratory mouse is an important animal model used widely in the study of human diseases. The work reported in this study will serve as a basis for research and discovery for decades to come. Such research will have profound long-term consequences for medicine. It will help elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of disease. This, in turn, will allow researchers to design better drugs and therapies for many illnesses.
The sequence information from the mouse consortium has been immediately and freely released to the world, without restrictions on its use or redistribution. The information is scanned daily by scientists in academia and industry, as well as by commercial database companies, providing key information services to biotechnologists.
90% of the mouse genome sequencing effort was completed at three centers: The Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research; the Genome Sequencing Center, Washington University School of Medicine; and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. McCombie, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Genome Research Center, and eight other centers contributed valuable data used in the high-quality draft of the sequence.
The genetic variety or “strain” of mouse whose genome was sequenced in this study, C57BL/6, is widely used and well known to mouse researchers. Interestingly, this mouse strain was developed during the early 20th century by Clarence Little at what is now Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu
W. Richard McCombie
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1982