Introduction Mamm Genome (2011) 22:361 DOI 10.1007/s00335-011-9352-4 Steve D. M. Brown Published online: 28 July 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 Mammalian disease models are key to translational studies The collection of reviews in this Special Issue serves to that lead from profound insights into biological mecha- illustrate the latest developments in the contributions of nisms to significant changes in treatment and clinical disease models to the translational engine, covering practice. Animal models provide a critical tool for study- examples from mouse, rat and dog in a variety of disease ing the genetic bases of disease systems and understanding systems. The reviews illustrate the broad-ranging impact the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms that mammalian disease models are already making to the involved. In addition, the mouse in particular is an impor- understanding of disease mechanisms and the development tant and powerful tool for validating and interpreting the of novel therapeutic strategies. outputs of human GWAS studies that are elaborating the In all the areas discussed, from autoimmune and underlying genetic pathways for disease in the human inflammatory diseases to type 2 diabetes, neurodegenera- population. Through these and other studies it is possible tive diseases to platelet homeostasis, the value of mouse to identify novel targets and potential therapeutic strate- genetics and mouse models is apparent from the consid- gies that go beyond current treatments. Moreover, disease erable progress in elaborating genetic pathways and models are themselves vital in pre-clinical assessments mechanisms, and in some cases from the utility of the of therapeutic interventions, throwing further light on the models in evaluating therapeutic approaches. We also mechanisms involved in disease states. With continuing include two reviews that discuss the rat and the dog as advances in genomic technologies and the enormous model systems and which elaborate some of the important expansion in genetic resources in the mouse and other developments in these two organisms and how they are mammalian model systems, the contribution of disease contributing to providing a wide spectrum of approaches to models to translational studies will continue to grow and be translation studies and new therapies. an important part of the translational pipeline. S. D. M. Brown (&) Medical Research Council, Mammalian Genetics Unit, Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 ORD, UK e-mail: Mammalian Genome Springer Journals


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Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Life Sciences; Cell Biology; Anatomy; Zoology
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