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Why Mice are Favorite Subjects of Researchers for Animal Experimentation

by Gab Billones


From formulating a breakthrough cancer treatment to testing different dietary supplements, mice can now be considered mainstays in the scientific research department. They have always been a critical tool in these scientific endeavors and so far, the results are satisfactory. But why are mice the  favorite subjects of researchers for animal experimentation?

More than their obsessiveness with mice, scientist have a lot of good, scientific and practical reasons to use them as test subjects.

First off is that these rodents are small, making it easy to house and be maintained. Next is they easily adapt to whatever kind of environment you put them in. Not only do they adapt easily but they also tend to have no problems in reproducing and has a relatively short lifespan enabling you to observe several generations in a relatively short period of time.

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Another good reason is that they are also inexpensive and can be bought in large quantities without the hassle of being tracked down by animal activists. These rodents are specifically bred for the purpose of research. Adding to that, their mild temper and being docile makes them easy to handle in different researches.

Primarily made for research purposes, these rodents are also inbred so that, other than their sex differences, they are almost identical genetically. With this, uniformity in researches is easy. And lastly, for some unexplained reason and the best reason to begin with, their genes are remarkably similar to humans.

Starting from the completion of the DNA sequence of these creatures, their use in the medical field has been continually growing for years. Mice have almost the same genetic, biological and behavior characteristics with us, thus making it useful for researches regarding our own physiology. With proper manipulation via human intervention, a set of their genes can be sequenced to produce an animal with just any human ailment with a reasonable facsimile of it. To date, these mice have generated an exact replica of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and the like in the quest to find potential treatments. As a result, about 25 million mice are used in these experiments every year.

Currently, the fondness of researchers unto these rodents is unstoppable. Where else would you find such valuable test subjects that won’t react to anything you put them through? Thanks to these tiny little creature, a lot of breakthroughs in medical science are starting to light up. An example of this is the current progress in the stem cells conquest.

Recently, scientists have succeeded in generating new stem cells in living mice opening an array of possibilities for the medical field. As we all know, stem cells are capable of doing regeneration of any damage tissues. But as of this moment, these findings aren’t yet applicable for humans because it showed some occurrence of tumors in the mice. And I’m pretty sure that we’re also not convinced with the idea of having a tumor in exchange for your healthy heart. That sounds so ironic.

This is the same thing that happened with the experiment on mice for GMO testing. Apparently, some of the mice that were tested grew fist-sized tumors, making the binary opposition base to GMO inception to food a lot bigger.

The future of medical technology is still so broad and the possibilities will only entice them more and more. The future generations of these mice will still have the same fate for as long as researches are concerned. But the value of human life is tantamount to knowing how much can we risk in exchange of an improved living.


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