Deconstructing Mus gemischus: advances in understanding ancestry, structure, and variation in the genome of the laboratory mouse
Since the turn of the century the complete genome sequence of just one mouse strain, C57BL/6J, has been available. Knowing the sequence of this strain has enabled large-scale forward genetic screens to be performed, the creation of an almost complete set of embryonic stem (ES) cell lines with targeted alleles for protein-coding genes, and the generation of a rich catalog of mouse genomic variation. However, many experiments that use other common laboratory mouse strains have been hindered by a lack of whole-genome sequence data for these strains. The last 5 years has witnessed a revolution in DNA sequencing technologies. Recently, these technologies have been used to expand the repertoire of fully sequenced mouse genomes. In this article we review the main findings of these studies and discuss how the sequence of mouse genomes is helping pave the way from sequence to phenotype. Finally, we discuss the prospects for using de novo assembly techniques to obtain high-quality assembled genome sequences of these laboratory mouse strains, and what advances in sequencing technologies may be required to achieve this goal.