Genetic variety of laboratory mice and rats: history of occurrence, methods of obtaining and control

Е.А.Gajdaj, ORCID 000-0002-5295-6384,
D.S.Gajdaj, ORCID 0000-0002-8773-5717

Institute of pre-clinical studies

188663, Leningradskiy region, Vsevolozhskiy district, Kuzmolovskiy, Zavodskaya st., 3-245, Russia



The review is devoted to the diversity of laboratory rats and mice strains used in biomedical research.

Laboratory animals are indispensable assistants to scientists to solve the main tasks of modern biomedicine – the prevention and treatment of various diseases. The most popular objects for research are rodents: mice and rats. Experimental biology that appeared in the 17th century required the use of animal models. The first mention of the use of mice and rats for scientific purposes dates back to this time. Due to the relative cheapness of the content, fertility and rapid reproduction of rats and mice they have gained high popularity as model organisms. Development of science lead to necessary to increase the accuracy and reproducibility of experiments by reducing the influence of genetic differences between individuals, i.e. in breeding linear rats. Today in the world there are about a thousand lines of rats and more than ten thousand lines of mice, including not only outbred and inbred, but also transgenic and knockout lines. Breeding of laboratory animals’ lines made it possible to conduct several previously inaccessible studies. The most common biomedical studies use the widespread lines of Wistar and SD rats and Balb/C and CD-1 mice.

The choice of line should be carried out by scientists for specific research purposes and taking into account the genetic characteristics of the animals used. It is imperative to keep the pure of lines to produce reproducible results from research to research. To keep the pure of line it is sufficient to regularly monitor animals and strictly follow the breeding procedure.

An important method for ensuring the quality of laboratory animals is genetic control. If in the experiment there was an accidental crossbreeding with animals of a different genotype, it is almost impossible to restore the line's homozygosity preserving the original genotype. Those animals are subject to annihilation.

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