Rat and mouse models for the major human autoimmune/inflammatory diseases are under intense genetic scrutiny. Genome-wide linkage studies reveal that each model is regulated by multiple genetic loci. Many of these loci colocalize to homologous genomic regions associated with several different autoimmune diseases of mice, rats and humans. Candidate genes are being identified. Polymorphic alleles associated with these chromosomal segments may represent predisposing genetic elements common to a number of human diseases with very different clinical presentations.