In 1999 a meeting took place at the Jackson Laboratory, a large mouse research centre in Bar Harbor, Maine, to consider the value of systematically collecting phenotypes on inbred strains of mice (Paigen and Eppig (2000) ). The group concluded that cataloguing the extensive phenotypic diversity present among laboratory mice, and in particular providing the research community with data from cohorts of animals, phenotyped according to standardized protocols, was essential if we were to take advantage of the possibilities of mouse genetics. Beginning with the collection of basic physiological, biochemical and behavioral data on nine commonly used inbred strains, the project has expanded so that by the beginning of 2010 data for 178 strains had been collected, with 105 phenotype projects yielding over 2000 different measurements (Bogue et al. (2007) .
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