International Mammalian Genome Society

The 14th International Mouse Genome Conference (2000)


The Verne Chapman Memorial Lecture (I)

A PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE MOUSE MAP

Mary F. Lyon

During the past fifty years the mouse map has grown from a rudimentary state to near completion. The talk consists of some of my own personal reminiscences of various stages along the way. So much has happened that many important developments have had to be omitted, particularly the role of inbred strains and recombinant inbred strains. I apologise to those whose work is not included.

When I started as a student in the 1940s there were only ten linkage groups and less than 100 known genes. In the 1940s and 1950s much work on mutagenic effects of radiation was funded, leading to the finding of new mutants and new phenomena, including X-inactivation. The mouse map grew and Margaret Green kept a card index of mapping data and provided a map published in Mouse News Letter. During the 1960s cytogenetics came into its own and in the early 1970s for the first time the linkage groups of Margaret Green's map were assigned to chromosomes. Verne Chapman entered the scene in the 1970s and the map expanded exponentially due to the use of biochemical polymorphisms, wild mice, and RFLPs. Tom Roderick and Muriel Davisson took over from Margaret Green in maintaining it. The Nomenclature Committee had existed since 1940 and, in a further development, the Committee persuaded Margaret Green to edit a book on Genetic Variants and Strains of the Laboratory Mouse, which included her Mouse Locus Catalog, which she had been keeping, first on cards and then on computer. The book ran to three editions getting bigger each time. By the 1990s, however, other major advances, including microsatellites, had made the information so detailed that it is no longer appropriate to keep either a printed map or a book. We rely on computers and the Jackson Lab's databases. The mouse map will soon be complete, and the prospect of the complete sequence opens up an exciting vista of discoveries ahead.


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