Muriel Davisson, staff scientist at Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, was recently appointed chairwoman of the International Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Mice. This committee, formed in 1939 to ensure that names for mouse genes and linkage groups are standardized worldwide, also determines genetic criteria for the establishment of inbred and congenic strains of mice. When the committee was created, only 31 mouse gene loci were identified; today, that number is closer to 3,000.

Mouse genetic nomenclature has become increasingly important because of the Human Genome Project. This gargantuan project has a more modest counterpart in the mapping of the mouse genome.

Mouse genome mapping is important to human genome mapping for two reasons, says Davisson. First, since mouse genetics is more straightforward than human genetics, mouse mapping can facilitate preliminary searching by predicting the location of homologous genes in human chromosomes. Second, mouse mapping can be used to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?