Interspecific mouse backcrosses provide almost limitless genetic variation for gene mapping. We have used interspecific backcrosses to develop the first comprehensive molecular genetic linkage map of the mouse genome. More than 600 loci have been positioned on the map; the current average map resolution is less than 3 cM. Since all loci were mapped using a single backcross panel, gene order can be determined unambiguously. With this level of resolution, it is now possible to position any new locus on the linkage map with virtually 100% certainty. In this article, we review how interspecific linkage maps are constructed, the salient features of our linkage map, and some of the many applications of interspecific linkage maps, in general, for future research.
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