Genetic variation and population substructure in outbred CD-1 mice: implications for genome-wide association studies

PLoS One. 2009;4(3):e4729. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004729. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Outbred laboratory mouse populations are widely used in biomedical research. Since little is known about the degree of genetic variation present in these populations, they are not widely used for genetic studies. Commercially available outbred CD-1 mice are drawn from an extremely large breeding population that has accumulated many recombination events, which is desirable for genome-wide association studies. We therefore examined the degree of genome-wide variation within CD-1 mice to investigate their suitability for genetic studies. The CD-1 mouse genome displays patterns of linkage disequilibrium and heterogeneity similar to wild-caught mice. Population substructure and phenotypic differences were observed among CD-1 mice obtained from different breeding facilities. Differences in genetic variation among CD-1 mice from distinct facilities were similar to genetic differences detected between closely related human populations, consistent with a founder effect. This first large-scale genetic analysis of the outbred CD-1 mouse strain provides important considerations for the design and analysis of genetic studies in CD-1 mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Mice / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Research Design