The sophistication of genetic tools and the relative ease of breeding and housing mean that the mouse is currently the most widely used organism for disease research. The genotype-phenotype information that will emerge from the efforts of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), now well into its first year, will advance disease research further still. In the Editorial on page 289, Steve Brown, Chair of the IMPC’s International Steering Committee, and Mark Moore, the IMPC’s Executive Director, outline the objectives of the next 10 years of the project. We also present Perspectives that review three areas in which mouse models are helping to unravel disease mechanisms. Norris and Grimes discuss mouse models of ciliopathies (page 299), Jaeger and Nath propose a new mouse model for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (page 313), and Ahmad et al. explain how genetically modified mice are being used to dissect the complex and heterogeneous signalling pathways that underlie bladder cancer (page 323).

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