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J Biomol Tech. 2010 September; 21(3 Suppl): S70.
PMCID: PMC2918122

Introducing DartMouse: The Mouse Speed Congenic Facility at Dartmouth Medical School

H. Trask,2 C. Tomlinson,3 S. Fiering,4 and J.D. Gorham5
1Dartmouth Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Lebanon, NH, United States;
2Dartmouth Medical School Immunology COBRE, Lebanon, NH, United States;
3Dartmouth College, Departments of Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology, Genetics, Lebanon, NH, United States;
4Dartmouth Genomics and Microarray Laboratory, Lebanon, NH, United States;
5Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Lebanon, NH, United States



DartMouse™ is the Mouse Speed Congenic Facility at Dartmouth Medical School. Use of DartMouse allows for the rapid introgression of modified genes onto any inbred strain of mouse. Speed congenic strains of mice are achievable in 5 generations (1 to 1.5 years), versus 10 generations (~3 years) required by conventional back-crossing. The application of DartMouse services saves both money and time for researchers using the laboratory mouse for any number of pre-clinical disease models. DartMouse is a complete service facility that works closely with clients at and outside of Dartmouth, helping to design appropriate breeding schemes to optimize back-crossing speed and efficiency. Clients supply mouse tail snips. DartMouse isolates genomic DNA, performs and analyzes complete genome-wide scans, and returns data in graphical and spreadsheet formats. DartMouse discusses results with clients and makes specific recommendations on breeder selection. DartMouse uses “SNP-Chip” technology on an Illumina BeadStation 500 Platform. Chips use a 377 SNP array covering the mouse genome with an average interval density of <7 cM. Turnaround time from receipt of tails to results is typically <2 weeks. One of DartMouse's most popular services is the “background check” in which the genetic background of supposedly fully back-crossed mice can be thoroughly assessed across all chromosomes. DartMouse was inaugurated in the summer of 2008, and received ARRA-funding in the fall of 2009. Our plans are to make DartMouse a regional and national core facility for the generation of speed congenic mice and for the verification of genetic background for conventionally back-crossed mice.

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