Rat survey may help identify human disease genes

April 29, 2008
Rat survey may help identify human disease genes
Almost all human genes known to be associated with diseases have counterparts in the rat genome.

A survey of genetic variation in laboratory rats which may help identify human disease genes is published this week in Nature Genetics.

A consortium of European laboratories, including Professor Dominique Gauguier at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, has published a survey of genetic variation in the laboratory rat.

This survey is based on three million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and represents a solid foundation for disease gene discovery in rats and for translating research findings to patient care.

Areas in which rat models have already helped to advance medical research include: cardiovascular diseases (hypertension); psychiatric disorders (studies of behavioral intervention and addiction); neural regeneration; diabetes; surgery; transplantation; autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis); cancer; wound and bone healing; and space motion sickness.

When the complete rat genome was sequenced in 2004, it was confirmed that almost all human genes known to be associated with diseases have counterparts in the rat genome, confirming that the rat is an excellent model for many areas of medical research.

The discovery of over three million SNPs in the rat genome and the characterization of genetic polymorphism for 20,000 of them provide crucial resources for identifying genes underlying complex traits relevant to human disorders.

This research is published in a special issue of Nature Genetics along with a community view on rat genetics and other papers reporting findings linking rat genomic studies to human genetics. This demonstrates the importance of rat genetic and genomic research in modern biomedical genetics.

Source: University of Oxford

Explore further: Top ten bird species surviving thanks to zoos

Related Stories

Top ten bird species surviving thanks to zoos

August 20, 2015

The African penguin, the Chinese Blue-crowned laughing thrush and the Ecuador Amazon parrot are among species staving off extinction thanks to the help of zoos, according to a new report co-ordinated by a conservation biologist ...

Rejuvenating the comparative approach in modern neuroscience

July 20, 2015

65 years ago, the famed behavioral endocrinologist Frank Beach wrote an article in The American Psychologist entitled 'The Snark was a Boojum'. The title refers to Lewis Carroll's poem 'The Hunting of the Snark', in which ...

Vagrant bachelors could save rare bird

June 16, 2015

A study conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has revealed the importance of single males in small, threatened populations. Results from a study of endangered New Zealand hihi birds (Notiomystis cincta), published ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.