The rat is a common laboratory animal utilized in a variety of investigations including experimental gerontology. Gerontologic investigations can be compromised when the differences observed when comparing young and old animals are actually differences between normal and disease states. It is of critical interest to know the pathology of the animals being studied and to understand the impact of these disease processes on the parameters being measured. The incidence and average age of occurrence for lesions have been characterized and are reported here for one inbred (Brown Norway) and two hybrid strains (Brown Norway × Fischer 344 and Fischer 344 × Brown Norway) of rat. Total lesion incidence functions as a biomarker of aging for all of the strains examined (p ≤ .00001). These three genotypes have significantly lower incidence of several major pathologic processes (including glomerulonephritis, retinal atrophy, and leukemia) than do the Fischer 344 and the Wistar rats, two commonly utilized strains. Additionally, the BN and F344 × BN F1 hybrid attain 50% mortality at 130 and 146 weeks of age, respectively, which is significantly greater than the 103 weeks for the F344 rat. It is hoped that access to basic information on these three rat genotypes will increase their utilization by the community of gerontologic scientists.