Using the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outbred Mice in Immunology

Justin Hackett, Heather Gibson, Jeffrey Frelinger, Adam Buntzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Collaborative Cross (CC) and the Diversity Outbred (DO) stock mouse panels are the most powerful murine genetics tools available to the genetics community. Together, they combine the strength of inbred animal models with the diversity of outbred populations. Using the 63 CC strains or a panel of DO mice, each derived from the same 8 parental mouse strains, researchers can map genetic contributions to exceptionally complex immunological and infectious disease traits that would require far greater powering if performed by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in human populations. These tools allow genes to be studied in heterozygous and homozygous states and provide a platform to study epistasis between interacting loci. Most importantly, once a quantitative phenotype is investigated and quantitative trait loci are identified, confirmatory genetic studies can be performed, which is often problematic using the GWAS approach. In addition, novel stable mouse models for immune phenotypes are often derived from studies utilizing the DO and CC mice that can serve as stronger model systems than existing ones in the field. The CC/DO systems have contributed to the fields of cancer immunology, autoimmunity, vaccinology, infectious disease, allergy, tissue rejection, and tolerance but have thus far been greatly underutilized. In this article, we present a recent review of the field and point out key areas of immunology that are ripe for further investigation and awaiting new CC/DO research projects. We also highlight some of the strong computational tools that have been developed for analyzing CC/DO genetic and phenotypic data. Additionally, we have formed a centralized community on the CyVerse infrastructure where immunogeneticists can utilize those software tools, collaborate with groups across the world, and expand the use of the CC and DO systems for investigating immunogenetic phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere547
JournalCurrent Protocols
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative Cross
  • Diversity Outbred
  • genetic linkage
  • immunology
  • quantitative trait locus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Health Informatics
  • General Neuroscience


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