Posts Tagged ‘Mice’

Mammalian Neurogenesis Breaks Into The Most Static Brain Region

June 9, 2008

Fifteen years ago, the discovery of adult neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) in the highly static, non-renewable mammalian brain was a breakthrough in neuroscience. Most emphasis was put on the possibility to figure out new strategies for brain repair against the threath of neurodegenerative diseases. Yet, unlike lower vetebrates, which are characterized by widespread postnatal neurogenesis, neurogenic sites in mammals are highly restricted within two very small regions. Hence, the fact that protracted neurogenesis in mammals is an exception rather than the rule slowes down hopes for generalized brain repair.

Work carried out in the recent past at the University of Turin, involving Federico Luzzati and Paolo Peretto at the Department of Animal Biology, and Giovanna Ponti and Luca Bonfanti at the Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology, revealed striking examples of structural plasticity and neurogenesis in the nervous system of rabbits. These Lagomorphs show remarkable differences under the profile of neurogenesis with respect to their close relatives Rodents (mice and rats).

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Mice Mothers Devote Energies To Offspring When Life Is Threatened

May 30, 2008

An Iowa State University researcher has found that sick female deer mice devote their energy to producing healthier offspring.

Lisa Schwanz, a researcher in the department of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, studied the size of offspring for both infected and healthy mice and found that females that had been infected with a parasite produced larger offspring than healthy females.

This finding was unexpected because most mammals tend to focus on their own survival when they are threatened with sickness or infection.

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World First Discovery: Genes From Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Function In A Mouse

May 21, 2008

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the University of Texas, USA, have extracted genes from the extinct Tasmanian tiger (thylacine), inserted it into a mouse and observed a biological function — this is a world first for the use of the DNA of an extinct species to induce a functional response in another living organism.

The results showed that the thylacine Col2a1 gene has a similar function in developing cartilage and bone development as the Col2a1 gene does in the mouse.

“This is the first time that DNA from an extinct species has been used to induce a functional response in another living organism,” said Dr Andrew Pask, RD Wright Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Zoology who led the research.

“As more and more species of animals become extinct, we are continuing to lose critical knowledge of gene function and their potential.”

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New Age of ‘Pocket Pet’ Medicine Begins

May 4, 2008

The American Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA ) has granted provisional recognition to the first completely new veterinary specialty since 1993. The new specialty will focus on small mammals including rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice and other small mammals, commonly known as “pocket pets.”

The new Exotic Companion Mammal ( ECM ) specialty was granted provisional recognition by the AVMA Executive Board on April 12, 2008, following recommendation from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties ( ABVS ) and Council on Education.

“The public and the profession will see these specialists as providing that next level of care of small exotic pets,” explains Dr. Beth Sabin, assistant director of the AVMA’s Education and Research Division. “This new specialty is really the outgrowth of the growing and ever increasing knowledge base of the particular needs of these animals in order to keep them healthy.”

Americans own 6.2 million pet rabbits, 1.2 million hamsters, 1.1 million ferrets, and a million guinea pigs, according to the 2007 AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. The new ECM practice area includes these and other more unusual small pets, including hedgehogs and sugar gliders, but doesn’t include illegal pet species—sometimes referred to as “fad pets”—which have been linked to the spread of zoonotic diseases. In 2003, prairie dogs and Gambian giant pouched rats kept as pets were linked to a serious monkeypox outbreak.

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OMG! Cookie for me?

May 3, 2008

Why Are Kids So Crazy About Animals?

April 30, 2008

Yeah, zoos are fun. So are cartoons. And I certainly see the appeal of a teddy bear.

But why are kids so over-the-top crazy about animals? I am especially struck by the fact that some of the most popular cartoon and children’s-book animals are among the least appealing animals in real life. Mice, for instance. And pigs and rats and bears and fish.

Here’s what I read the other day in the class newsletter my daughter brought home from kindergarten:

Post Office Money Update: After a vote among all four K classes about how to spend this money, “Animals” received the most votes. (Other choices were Kids, Grown-Ups, and the Earth.) Please let us know if you are aware of any reputable organizations which are devoted to animals.

I wouldn’t expect kids to want to give any of their money to grown-ups. And while kids may be helping to drive awareness of climate change, “the Earth” is a pretty amorphous target.

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Adopt a rescued rat!

April 26, 2008

[…] After being alerted by neighbors, Thurston County animal control officials served a search warrant on April 9 at the residence of Michele Diller, 64. They found that pet rats had ruined the house, chewing through walls, cupboards, drawers and wires, soaking carpets with urine and covering floors with feces. The officials removed a cat, four severely malnourished snakes, five mice and two rats.

Since then, county health officials have said the house will be condemned and Diller has moved to an apartment in neighboring Lewis County to await assisted-living housing.

[…] As of Thursday the group had captured 29 live rats, including 10 babies.

“They’re very smart, they’re very clean, they can do tricks,” Price said. “They’re like little miniature dogs.”

Before agreeing to move, Diller was saying, `You can’t hurt them, they’re my friends,'” said Susanne Beauregard, director of Animal Services.

The rats could not survive in the wild because Diller fed them cat food, so they have no scavenging skills, and poor eyesight would also make them easy prey, Price said.

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World’s first schizophrenic mouse developed by gene modification

April 18, 2008

From the dawn of medical history, mice have always been a tool, used for the development of medical treatments and understanding of human anatomy. In medical history, mice models have greatly helped medical scientists to study mainly, structure and diseases related to heart, kidney and genes.

Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore have another success in medical history as they bred world’s first schizophrenic or mentally ill mouse.

For the first time we have an animal genetically engineered with a mental illness. It will allow researchers to study the disease and develop treatments.

To develop this mouse, scientists modified its DNA to mimic the gene responsible for schizophrenia. This gene was inserted into the egg cell and then fertilized by using surrogate mothers. Features, such as hyperactivity and depression, similar to those humans with schizophrenia, were detected in mice’s brain.

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Nanoparticles Provide Detailed View Inside Living Animals

April 18, 2008

Using nanoparticles designed specifically to produce a bright Raman spectroscopic signal, a team of investigators at the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence Focused on Therapy Response (Stanford CCNE) has shown that it can produce whole-body images in small animals that can reveal the location of tumors and track how these nanoparticles traffic through the body.

This work, the first to use surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to provide whole-body images in a living animal, was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Sanjiv Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the Stanford CCNE, led the team of investigators that used either single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) or one of several commercially available silica-coated gold nanoparticles known as Nanoplex biotags, as SERS contrast agents. Each of the Nanoplex biotags produced a unique Raman signal. To detect either of these nanoparticles in animals, the investigators modified a standard Raman microscope to efficiently measure the Raman signal produced from deep inside living animals.

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Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle

April 18, 2008

The animals that paved the way for Neil Armstrong and his cohorts have inspired a fresh take on the ubiquitous lost dog notice. Suzy Freeman-Greene revisits some walkies on the wild side.

One winter’s day, in December 1958, a fluffy squirrel monkey called Gordo was given a helmet and strapped onto a tiny rubber couch. Soon after, he was blasted into space in the nose of an American Jupiter missile. Gordo experienced nine minutes of weightlessness and is thought to have survived his capsule’s re-entry to earth. But the craft landed in the Atlantic Ocean and his body was never found.

Gordo was one of hundreds of animals sent into space from 1949 to 1990. In the name of science, monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, rats, frogs, worms, fish, tortoises and even spiders have journeyed towards the stars. While plenty survived, many others died.

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If we could talk to the animals, would they empathize?

March 4, 2008

Marc Bekoff, professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is in Australia to give a series of public talks on the emotional lives of animals.

Bekoff says scientists have moved on from the presumption that the way animals act is the result of programmed behaviour.

“It’s not a question of if they have emotions but why they have evolved,” he says.

Animals also have personalities, he says.

Bekoff says research has shown that elephants can experience grief, mice feel empathy, rats get excited about playing with a friend, sharks get mad and koalas have likes and dislikes.

Crocodile mums care for their kids, squid can be shy, fish can have addictive personalities and even coyotes get the blues.

“There are shy animals, bold animals, risk-takers … some animals wake up in the morning depressed and some wake up raring to go,” he says.

Bekoff says there is even evidence that animals possess a morality and have a unique “point of view on the world”, he says.

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For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at www.thecapstone.ua.edu, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Senate clears bill on torture of animals

February 28, 2008

A bill that would make the torture of an animal a third-degree felony passed the Senate Wednesday.
SB297 came about as a compromise from animal-rights groups and livestock owners, said sponsor Sen. Allen Christensen.
“I applaud Senator Christensen,” said Majority Leader Curtis Bramble. “It was not a journey he anticipated when he set out on this issue, but he’s gotten buy-in from several stakeholders.”
Sen. Scott Jenkins tried to amend the bill to make the first offense a Class A misdemeanor and a second offense a third-degree felony. The attempt failed.
The bill passed 21-6 and goes to the House for further debate.

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US to replace animals with robots in toxic chemical tests

February 15, 2008

 

US regulators have announced plans to reduce the number of animals used to test the safety of everyday chemicals.

Instead of using animals such as rats and mice, scientists will screen suspected toxic chemicals in everything from pesticides to household cleaners using cell cultures and computer models.

According to the Home Office, more than 3.1m experiments in the UK were carried out on animals in 2006. Of these more than 420,000 were done to test the safety of chemicals. According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), more than 100 million animals are used annually in experiments in the US, of which 15 million are used in toxicity tests.

The plans to replace animals in the US, announced yesterday in Boston, will see researchers from the national institute of health and the environmental protection agency develop robotic machines to screen the chemicals. They said if successful the robots could test a greater number of chemicals more quickly.

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New animal-testing alternative shows potential, and Europe set to outlaw cosmetic testing on live animals

January 7, 2008

test-bunnies.jpg

As pressure rises to eliminate animal testing in the cosmetics industry, a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California have announced a potential alternative.

The scientists have created the DataChip and MetaChip, which mimic the reaction of the human body and reveal the potential toxicity of chemicals. The biochips also could be used in the development of pharmaceuticals.

“There’s a desperate need in some industries, like cosmetics, to have technologies that can replace animal testing,” said Jonathan Dordick, a professor of biochemistry engineering at RPI.

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Tests of cosmetic products on rabbits and mice will soon be banned after European scientists announced that most experiments can now be carried out using non-animal alternatives.

The switch will spare almost 20,000 rabbits a year and 240,000 mice from a life of misery in the laboratory.

Scientists say the new tests will actually provide a more reliable way of checking the safety of chemicals in everyday products such as makeup and washing-up liquid.

Yesterday, the scientific advisory committee of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods approved five new tests which make the use of live rabbits and mice unnecessary.

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