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Friday, 27 April, 2001, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Mouse code is read
Mouse BBC
The genetic code of the mouse has been read and assembled into its correct order, Celera Genomics has announced.

The US company says the information will play a crucial role in helping scientists understand the human genome, often referred to as the biochemical "book of life".

Celera formerly published its "first assembly" of the human DNA sequence in February, at the same time that a "rough draft" of the data was put out by public researchers.

The mouse and the human are very similar at a genetic level - the mouse genome contains about 2.6 billion base pairs of DNA compared with 2.9 billion base pairs in the human genome - making the rodent an invaluable tool in laboratory studies.

Knock out

"The mouse is a key biological model used by researchers around the world to decode the pathways and mechanisms of human disease because mice can either develop or be bred to develop a huge number of human diseases," said Dr Craig Venter, Celera's president and chief scientific officer.

"Having the Celera assembled and annotated human genome and the assembled mouse genome should enable Celera's growing list of subscribers to enhance their research programs and accelerate their drug discovery efforts."

Dr Venter said Celera researchers still had to search the mouse code for the genes, the templates the rodent's cells use to produce the proteins that build and maintain its body.

By "knocking out" certain genes in the mouse, researchers can probe the function of similar looking regions of code in the human genome.

Business model

Celera used the 129X1/SvJ, DBA/2J, and A/J strains of mouse in its sequencing work.

In total, the company's high-throughput sequencing machines and computers read more than 15.9 billion base pairs of genetic data.

The company said in a statement that this gave approximately six-fold coverage of the mouse genome, ensuring greater than 99% representation.

Celera hopes to make future profits by providing subscribers to its online database with tools to search and compare various animal genomes, including those of the human, the mouse, the fly and the rat.

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