Inbred mice are a unique model system for studying aging because of the genetic homogeneity within inbred strains, the short life span of mice relative to humans, and the rich array of analytic tools that are available. A large-scale aging study was conducted on 28 inbred strains representing great genetic diversity to determine, via histopathology, the type and diversity of spontaneous diseases that aging mice develop. A total of 20 885 different diagnoses were made, with an average of 12 diagnoses per mouse in the study. Eighteen inbred strains have had their genomes sequenced, and many others have been partially sequenced to provide large repositories of data on genetic variation among the strains. This vast amount of genomic information can be utilized in genome-wide association studies to find candidate genes that are involved in the pathogenesis of spontaneous diseases. As an illustration, this article presents a genome-wide association study of the genetic associations of age-related intestinal amyloidosis, which implicated 3 candidate genes: translocating chain-associated membrane protein 1 (Tram1); splicing factor 3b, subunit 5 (Sf3b5); and syntaxin 11 (Stx11). Representative photomicrographs are available on the Mouse Tumor Biology Database and Pathbase to serve as a reference when evaluating inbred mice used in other genetic or experimental studies to rule out strain background lesions. Many of the age-related mouse diseases are similar, if not identical, to human diseases; therefore, the genetic discoveries have direct translational benefit.
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