Brain disorders are recognized as the most expensive and disabling diseases of the new century. The impact on the quality of life is arguably larger than for any other class of diseases and the economic burden of absenteeism and discontinued employability is formidable. Despite the enormous potential of the world market, pharmaceutical companies have typically had little success in developing treatments. Our limited understanding of the human brain and its poor accessibility for investigation frustrates the analysis of how brain diseases develop and how such developments may be counteracted. Studies on rodent model organisms have made crucial contributions to our current understanding of the brain and can be used to investigate many aspects of human brain disease. In contrast to humans, brains of model organisms can be accessed and challenged and we can analyse how diseases develop and might be treated. Due to the revolution in transgenesis and biotechnology of the past decades, we are now entering the post-genomics era in which tens of thousands of mouse mutants will become available. As many of these mutants are showing brain disorders that mimic those of humans in terms of both genotype and phenotype, our consortium has identified this development as an excellent opportunity to create new directions in studying the human brain and its disorders and to create significant new economic activities in the biomedical-pharmaceutical sector.

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