Genetic quality assurance (QA), including genetic monitoring (GeMo) of inbred strains and background characterization (BC) of genetically altered (GA) animal models, should be an essential component of any QA programme in laboratory animal facilities. Genetic quality control is as important for ensuring the validity of the animal model as health and microbiology monitoring are. It should be required that studies using laboratory rodents, mainly mice and rats, utilize genetically defined animals. This paper, presented by the FELASA Working Group on Genetic Quality Assurance and Genetic Monitoring of Laboratory Murines, describes the objectives of and available methods for genetic QA programmes in rodent facilities. The main goals of any genetic QA programme are: (a) to verify the authenticity and uniformity of inbred stains and substrains, thus ensuring a genetically reliable colony maintenance; (b) to detect possible genetic contamination; and (c) to precisely describe the genetic composition of GA lines. While this publication focuses mainly on mouse and rat genetic QA, the principles will apply to other rodent species some of which are briefly mentioned within the context of inbred and outbred stocks.