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Background: The TALLYHO/Jng (TH) mouse is a polygenic model for obesity and type 2 diabetes first described in the literature in 2001. The origin of the TH strain is an outbred colony of the Theiler Original strain and mice derived from this source were selectively bred for male hyperglycemia establishing an inbred strain at The Jackson Laboratory. TH mice manifest many of the disease phenotypes observed in human obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Results: We sequenced the whole genome of TH mice maintained at Marshall University to a depth of approximately 64.8X coverage using data from three next generation sequencing runs. Genome-wide, we found approximately 4.31 million homozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 1.10 million homozygous small insertions and deletions (indels) of which 98,899 SNPs and 163,720 indels were unique to the TH strain compared to 28 previously sequenced inbred mouse strains. In order to identify potentially clinically-relevant genes, we intersected our list of SNP and indel variants with human orthologous genes in which variants were associated in GWAS studies with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, and with genes previously shown to confer a monogenic obesity phenotype in humans, and found several candidate variants that could be functionally tested using TH mice. Further, we filtered our list of variants to those occurring in an obesity quantitative trait locus, tabw2, identified in TH mice and found a missense polymorphism in the Cidec gene and characterized this variant’s effect on protein function.

Conclusions: We generated a complete catalog of variants in TH mice using the data from whole genome sequencing. Our findings will facilitate the identification of causal variants that underlie metabolic diseases in TH mice and will enable identification of candidate susceptibility genes for complex human obesity and type 2 diabetes.


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