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Comparing phenotypic variation between inbred and outbred mice

An Author Correction to this article was published on 29 July 2020

An Author Correction to this article was published on 21 December 2018

This article has been updated

Inbred mice are preferred over outbred mice because it is assumed that they display less trait variability. We compared coefficients of variation and did not find evidence of greater trait stability in inbred mice. We conclude that contrary to conventional wisdom, outbred mice might be better subjects for most biomedical research.

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Fig. 1: Coefficients of variation of all available studies in which inbred and outbred mice were directly compared.
Fig. 2: CVs within each inbred strain and the average CV across 1,000 subsamples of the DO population.

Data availability

Data used in this paper are provided as Supplementary Information.

Change history

  • 29 July 2020

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

  • 21 December 2018

    In the version of this Comment originally published, the authors omitted a funding source. Grant 5 P50 DA039841 (to E.J.C.) from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse has been added to the Acknowledgements in the HTML and PDF versions of the paper.


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This work was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (FRN154281 to J.S.M.), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (RGPIN-2018-03873 to J.S.M.), the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation (J.S.M.), and the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (5 P50 DA039841 to E.J.C.).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



The study was conceived by J.S.M., designed by A.H.T. and J.S.M., carried out by A.H.T., and analyzed by V.M.P. and E.J.C.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeffrey S. Mogil.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1

PRISMA diagram.

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figure 1 and Supplementary Table 2

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Table 1

Data from papers simultaneously testing inbred and outbred mouse strains.

Supplementary Table 3

DO versus inbred CVs.

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Tuttle, A.H., Philip, V.M., Chesler, E.J. et al. Comparing phenotypic variation between inbred and outbred mice. Nat Methods 15, 994–996 (2018).

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