Rat models of human diseases and related phenotypes: a systematic inventory of the causative genes
Journal of Biomedical Science
The laboratory rat has been used for a long time as the model of choice in several biomedical disciplines. Numerous inbred strains have been isolated, displaying a wide range of phenotypes and providing many models of human traits and diseases. Rat genome mapping and genomics was considerably developed in the last decades. The availability of these resources has stimulated numerous studies aimed at discovering causal disease genes by positional identification. Numerous rat genes have now been
... entified that underlie monogenic or complex diseases and remarkably, these results have been translated to the human in a significant proportion of cases, leading to the identification of novel human disease susceptibility genes, helping in studying the mechanisms underlying the pathological abnormalities and also suggesting new therapeutic approaches. In addition, reverse genetic tools have been developed. Several genome-editing methods were introduced to generate targeted mutations in genes the function of which could be clarified in this manner [generally these are knockout mutations]. Furthermore, even when the human gene causing a disease had been identified without resorting to a rat model, mutated rat strains (in particular KO strains) were created to analyze the gene function and the disease pathogenesis. Today, over 350 rat genes have been identified as underlying diseases or playing a key role in critical biological processes that are altered in diseases, thereby providing a rich resource of disease models. This article is an update of the progress made in this research and provides the reader with an inventory of these disease genes, a significant number of which have similar effects in rat and humans.