UNC Systems Genetics

Who are we?

We are a multidisciplinary research group focused on a systems genetics approach to understanding diseases, development, aging, and fertility in the mouse. Our projects range from the development of new community resources, such as the Collaborative Cross, to the development of tools and assays for measuring genetic diversity and discerning genomic structure.

The Collaborative Cross


In 2002, the members of the Complex-Trait Consortium proposed to develop a new mouse genetics resource called the Collaborative Cross (CC). The CC was envisioned as a reference population for mapping multigenic traits that would be free of population structure. The CC would be a new panel of recombinant-inbred lines generated by randomizing the genetic diversity of existing inbred mouse resources. After extensive discussions eight “founders” were chosen representing the three major Mus musculus subspecies (M. m. musculus, M. m. domesticus, and M. m. castaneus): A/J, C57BL/6J, 129S1Sv/ImJ, NOD/ShiLtJ, NZO/H1LtJ, CAST/EiJ, PWK/PhJ, and WSB/EiJ.

The CC project formally began in 2004 at The Jackson Laboratory with the generation of a full diallel cross among the eight founder strains. The resulting F1 population was shipped to three breeding sites at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, and the University of Western Australia in Perth, Austrailia. The ORNL population was eventually moved to the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the ILRI population moved to Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

As lines near completion they are genotyped and relocated to UNC as necessary where they are finished.  Those strains without breeding errors are rederived into a clean facility where they are subjected to marker-assisted inbreeding until completed.

CC lines will be distributed in two stages.  A set of 'Distributable' lines that are between 90% and 97% inbred. Genomic maps of the distributable strain's fixed and segregating regions are provided.  'Completed' lines are declared when they are at least 98% homozygous. Animals can be shipped from either UNC's SPF facility (designated health status '2') or the '1' barrier facility.

Distributable CC lines maintain their original strain designations. Lines started at ORNL are designated by the prefix 'OR'. Lines started in Kenya and currently at Tel Aviv University are designated with the prefix 'IL'. Finally, lines started by Geniad in Western Australia are designated with the prefix 'AU'.

The final panel of CC lines will come from the three combined populations and they will be assigned a permanant strain name with prefix 'CC', a sequential strain number, and a laboratory registration code of Unc for lines originated in the United States, Tau for line that originated in Isreal, and Gen for lines originating from Australia.

You can find information on ordering distributable and completed strains here.


The SCGF is no longer providing a genotyping service.

© 2012 UNC Systems Genetics Core Facility
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Departments of Genetics and Computer Science

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