Tag Archives | animal testing

Inside the Mutant Mouse Industry That Supplies Science Laboratories

White mice don’t grow on trees. At least, for now.

Pic: RAMA (CC)

Pic: RAMA (CC)

Via New Scientist:

It’s often said that in a city, you’re never far from a rat. Today’s UK government figures for the numbers of laboratory animals used annually in England, Scotland and Wales reveals the extent to which researchers, too, are surrounded by rats and other rodents. In all 4 million animals were used, a 9 per cent increase on 2011. Most of these – 3.3 million – were rodents. Some 2200 primates were used, mainly in pharmaceutical safety tests.

The majority of the rodents – 1.77 million mice – were mutant, “knockout” mice: animals with a specific gene turned off, helping scientists to understand what that gene does. “It’s a bit like trying to understand a car engine without a plan – piece by piece you pull parts out and then see how this contributes to the car not working,” says David Adams of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK.

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Scientists Implant Short-Term Memories in Rat Brain tissue

Picture: Janet Stephens (PD)

Via ScienceDaily:

Evoking scenes from science fiction B-movies, (I’m looking at you, Battlefield Earth), scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine succeeded in implanting rudimentary memories in sections of puny rat-brains! rat brain tissue.

In their study, the researchers sought to better understand the mechanisms underlying short-term declarative memories such as remembering a phone number or email address someone has just shared.

Using isolated pieces of rodent brain tissue, the researchers demonstrated that they could form a memory of which one of four input pathways was activated. The neural circuits contained within small isolated sections of the brain region called the hippocampus maintained the memory of stimulated input for more than 10 seconds. The information about which pathway was stimulated was evident by the changes in the ongoing activity of brain cells.

The experiment will pave the way for a greater understanding of how short-term memories are formed, according to the article at ScienceDaily.… Read the rest

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