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MDACC Laboratory Animal Genetic Services

Overview of Services

Laboratory Animal Genetic Services (LAGS) provides MD Anderson investigators with cost-effective, customized genome scans using polymorphic genetic markers to support rapid congenic line development and  background strain characterization for mice and rats. Free consultation on rodent genetics is also provided by this core facility. We also offer infectious diseases testing for multiple agents affecting laboratory animals, particularly mice and rats. Sample collection from fecal samples, harvested tissue and swabs can be used to obtain DNA for testing.  Tests for other infectious agents can also be developed and implemented according to the specific needs of your animal colony. Please contact Fernando Benavides for a consultation to develop a strategy for testing the new agent.


Why We Are Important

Despite the availability of new genome editing techniques, many genetically modified lines are maintained on a mixed genetic background; particularly those developed using ES cells. Another problematic scenario is the use of inducible and conditional systems involving lines with different backgrounds (e.g., cre-expressing lines crossed with floxed alleles). Hence, it is essential to pay attention to the background issue, since it is now well documented that the genetic background (including the presence of undesirable “passenger” mutations) greatly influences the phenotype of transgenic, KO, and KI models (see References under Links & Resources). Further, investigators frequently need to create congenic lines to study the effects of a particular allele in a different strain. Genome scans using multiple, informative genetic markers (e.g., microsatellites and SNPs) represent the state-of-the-art in defining genetic background.



Fernando Benavides, DVM, PhD, DACLAM
Professor/Director, Lab Animal Genetic Services


Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

8am - 5pm, M-F        

MD Anderson Cancer Center, Unit 110.                        1515 Holcombe Blv. Houston, TX 77030

Links and Resources

  1. International Mouse Strain Resource (IMSR)
  2. Mouse Genome Informatics (MGI)
  3. Mouse Tumor Biology
  4. NCBI Mouse Genome Resources
  5. NIH Animal Genetic Resource
  6. NIH Rat Genomics and Genetics
  7. Rat Genome Database (RGD)
  8. Standardized Strain and Gene Nomenclature for Mice and Rats


Name Role Phone Email Location
Fernando Benavides, DVM, PhD, DACLAM
Professor/Director, Lab Animal Genetic Services
Carlos J. Perez, DVM, PhD
Sr. Research Scientist


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LAGS Services (13)