Development of medical countermeasures against radiation relies on robust animal models for efficacy testing. Mouse models have advantages over larger species due to economics, ease of conducting aging studies, existence of historical databases, and research tools allowing for sophisticated mechanistic studies. However, the radiation dose-response relationship of inbred strains is inherently steep and sensitive to experimental variables, and inbred models have been criticized for lacking genetic diversity. Jackson Diversity Outbred (JDO) mice are the most genetically diverse strain available, developed by the Collaborative Cross Consortium using eight founder strains, and may represent a more accurate model of humans than inbred strains. Herein, models of the Hematopoietic-Acute Radiation Syndrome and the Delayed Effects of Acute Radiation Exposure were developed in JDO mice and compared to inbred C57BL/6. The dose response relationship curve in JDO mice mirrored the more shallow curves of primates and humans, characteristic of genetic diversity. JDO mice were more radioresistant than C57BL/6 and differed in sensitivity to antibiotic countermeasures. The model was validated with pegylated-G-CSF, which provided significantly enhanced 30-d survival and accelerated blood recovery. Long-term JDO survivors exhibited increased recovery of blood cells and functional bone marrow hematopoietic progenitors compared to C57BL/6. While JDO hematopoietic stem cells declined more in number, they maintained a greater degree of quiescence compared to C57BL/6, which is essential for maintaining function. These JDO radiation models offer many of the advantages of small animals with the genetic diversity of large animals, providing an attractive alternative to currently available radiation animal models.

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PubMed