Multiple trait measurements in 43 inbred mouse strains capture the phenotypic diversity characteristic of human populations

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Jun;102(6):2369-78. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01077.2006. Epub 2007 Feb 22.


The breadth of genetic and phenotypic variation among inbred strains is often underappreciated because assessments include only a limited number of strains. Evaluation of a larger collection of inbred strains provides not only a greater understanding of this variation but collectively mimics much of the variation observed in human populations. We used a high-throughput phenotyping protocol to measure females and males of 43 inbred strains for body composition (weight, fat, lean tissue mass, and bone mineral density), plasma triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol, glucose, insulin, and leptin levels while mice consumed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Mice were fed a chow diet until they were 6-8 wk old and then fed the high-fat diet for an additional 18 wk. As expected, broad phenotypic diversity was observed among these strains. Significant variation between the sexes was also observed for most traits measured. Additionally, the response to the high-fat diet differed considerably among many strains. By the testing of such a large set of inbred strains for many traits, multiple phenotypes can be considered simultaneously and thereby aid in the selection of certain inbred strains as models for complex human diseases. These data are publicly available in the web-accessible Mouse Phenome Database (, an effort established to promote systematic characterization of biochemical and behavioral phenotypes of commonly used and genetically diverse inbred mouse strains. Data generated by this effort builds on the value of inbred mouse strains as a powerful tool for biomedical research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / metabolism*
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Mice, Transgenic / metabolism*
  • Phenotype


  • Dietary Fats
  • Cholesterol