Rat Genome and Model Resources

ILAR J. 2017 Jul 1;58(1):42-58. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilw041.


Rats remain a major model for studying disease mechanisms and discovery, validation, and testing of new compounds to improve human health. The rat's value continues to grow as indicated by the more than 1.4 million publications (second to human) at PubMed documenting important discoveries using this model. Advanced sequencing technologies, genome modification techniques, and the development of embryonic stem cell protocols ensure the rat remains an important mammalian model for disease studies. The 2004 release of the reference genome has been followed by the production of complete genomes for more than two dozen individual strains utilizing NextGen sequencing technologies; their analyses have identified over 80 million variants. This explosion in genomic data has been accompanied by the ability to selectively edit the rat genome, leading to hundreds of new strains through multiple technologies. A number of resources have been developed to provide investigators with access to precision rat models, comprehensive datasets, and sophisticated software tools necessary for their research. Those profiled here include the Rat Genome Database, PhenoGen, Gene Editing Rat Resource Center, Rat Resource and Research Center, and the National BioResource Project for the Rat in Japan.

Keywords: Rattus norvegicus; bioinformatics; database; disease; genomics; phenotype; rat; resource.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Database Management Systems
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genome
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Rats / genetics*
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Software