The impact of whole genome sequencing on model system genetics: get ready for the ride

Genetics. 2010 Feb;184(2):317-9. doi: 10.1534/genetics.109.112938.


Much of our understanding of how organisms develop and function is derived from the extraordinarily powerful, classic approach of screening for mutant organisms in which a specific biological process is disrupted. Reaping the fruits of such forward genetic screens in metazoan model systems like Drosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, or zebrafish traditionally involves time-consuming positional cloning strategies that result in the identification of the mutant locus. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has begun to provide an effective alternative to this approach through direct pinpointing of the molecular lesion in a mutated strain isolated from a genetic screen. Apart from significantly altering the pace and costs of genetic analysis, WGS also provides new perspectives on solving genetic problems that are difficult to tackle with conventional approaches, such as identifying the molecular basis of multigenic and complex traits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Genomics* / trends
  • Humans
  • Mutation