UNC set to take charge of U.S. energy department’s Collaborative Cross research project

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in January begins moving its unique colony of 8,000 mice known as the Collaborative Cross to UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Collaborative Cross, is a partnership among several national and international universities and research institutions. The project involves a randomized breeding of eight inbred mouse strains, and is designed to be the ultimate mouse reference population for scientists seeking to explore the genetic underpinnings of complex human traits. The project aims to create 1,000 strains of mice that feature the genetic diversity of the world population.

The fact that mice have DNA remarkably similar to that of humans, scientists around the world may learn more about possible causes of diabetes, sleep disorders, stress and pain, drug abuse and addiction, kidney disease and a number of other conditions that affect millions of people.

First proposed at the Edinburgh Meeting of the International Mouse Genome Conference in October 2001 and in the journal Mammalian Genome in 2002 (Threadgill, Hunter and Williams in 2002) the idea was motivated by the need for an integrative, affordable, retrievable, high-precision resource for the analysis of complex traits.

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