Developmental genetics in emerging rodent models: case studies and perspectives.
For decades, mammalian developmental genetic studies have focused almost entirely on two laboratory models: Mus and Rattus, species that breed readily in the laboratory and for which a wealth of molecular and genetic resources exist. These species alone, however, do not capture the remarkable diversity of morphological, behavioural and physiological traits seen across rodents, a group that represents >40% of all mammal species. Due to new advances in molecular tools and genomic technologies, studying the developmental events underlying natural variation in a wide range of species for a wide range of traits has become increasingly feasible. Here we review several recent studies and discuss how they not only provided technical resources for newly emerging rodent models in developmental genetics but also are instrumental in further encouraging scientists, from a wide range of research fields, to capitalize on the great diversity in development that has evolved among rodents.