What is a Mouse Genome?

Mary McMahon

A mouse genome is the entire genetic code of a mouse. Mice are used extensively in laboratory research, and as a result, the mouse genome is a topic of interest among scientists and researchers. A number of scientific organizations have worked on sequencing the mouse genome, with genomes of several different mouse species under investigation in the scientific community. The laboratory mouse is one of the most fully sequenced species.

Most laboratories that conduct animal testing use mice, whose genomes are of great scientific interest.
Most laboratories that conduct animal testing use mice, whose genomes are of great scientific interest.

Sequencing the mouse genome takes time and a great deal of laboratory work. As with genome sequencing projects for other organisms, a cooperative effort is required, with multiple labs splitting up the work of sequencing the genome and verifying work done by other labs. Some labs publish their sequencing results as they are produced so that they are immediately accessible to the scientific community.

A great deal of lab work is needed to sequence a mouse's genome.
A great deal of lab work is needed to sequence a mouse's genome.

There are a number of reasons why sequencing the mouse genome is a topic of interest among researchers. Sequencing the genome allows people to identify more genes of interest, which can be used to study genetic disorders in mice as well as in genetic manipulation of mice. Many labs work with mice which have been specifically bred to have various traits, or which have been manipulated genetically for various research purposes, and having a fuller understanding of the mouse genome provides people with more tools for research.

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Sequencing the mouse genome also provides people with genetic material which can be compared with genetic material from other organisms. This information can be used to learn more about when various mouse species diverged from a common ancestor, and what kinds of genes mice have in common with other organisms. As has been demonstrated in numerous sequencing projects, many organisms share a substantial amount of their genome with others; flies and humans, for example, have more in common than meets the eye.

People who are interested in seeing the latest progress on the mouse genome can find several websites online tracking the sequencing of the mouse genome. Several of these sites host downloadable files of the parts of the genome which have been sequenced, and many also link to scientific papers which have been published as more information about the mouse genome is uncovered by genetic researchers. These papers cover a wide variety of topics, some of which are potentially applicable to human medicine, making them of interest to many members of the scientific community working around the world.

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