Technical approaches for mouse models of human disease

Dis Model Mech. 2011 May;4(3):305-10. doi: 10.1242/dmm.000901.


The mouse is the leading organism for disease research. A rich resource of genetic variation occurs naturally in inbred and special strains owing to spontaneous mutations. However, one can also obtain desired gene mutations by using the following processes: targeted mutations that eliminate function in the whole organism or in a specific tissue; forward genetic screens using chemicals or transposons; or the introduction of exogenous transgenes as DNAs, bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) or reporter constructs. The mouse is the only mammal that provides such a rich resource of genetic diversity coupled with the potential for extensive genome manipulation, and is therefore a powerful application for modeling human disease. This poster review outlines the major genome manipulations available in the mouse that are used to understand human disease: natural variation, reverse genetics, forward genetics, transgenics and transposons. Each of these applications will be essential for understanding the diversity that is being discovered within the human population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Disease / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • DNA Transposable Elements