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TheScientificWorldJOURNAL
Volume 11 (2011), Pages 429-436
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2011.32
Mini-Review Article

The Genetic Background Effect on Domesticated Species: A Mouse Evolutionary Perspective

Mouse Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Monterotondo, Italy

Received 10 August 2010; Revised 7 December 2010; Accepted 31 December 2010

Academic Editor: Steve Brown

Copyright © 2011 Eli Reuveni.

Abstract

Laboratory mouse strains are known for their large phenotypic diversity and serve as a primary mammalian model in genotype-phenotype association studies. One possible attempt to understand the reason for this diversity could be addressed by careful investigation of the unique evolutionary history of their wild-derived founders and the consequence that it may have on the genetic makeup of the laboratory mouse strains during the history of human fancy breeding. This review will summarize recently published literature that endeavors to unravel the genetic background of laboratory mouse strains, as well as give new insights into novel evolutionary approaches. I will explain basic concepts of molecular evolution and the reason why it is important in order to infer function even among closely related wild and domesticated species. I will also discuss future frontiers in the field and how newly emerging sequencing technologies could help us to better understand the relationship between genotype and phenotype.