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|Why has the mouse been so important in human biology research?|
Graham Easton finds out how the laboratory mouse has become pivotal in some of the key medical and scientific breakthroughs of the last 50 years.
In 1909, Clarence Cook Little, a Harvard undergraduate, wanted to study how mice inherit their coat colour. He created a “pure strain” mouse by mating brother and sister brown mice. His genetically identical mouse strains have since led to 17 Nobel prizes and unique insights into our understanding of human biology and disease.
Clarence went on to found the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Maine with a vision to cure cancer. It’s now the world’s largest mammalian genetic research facility and key supplier of tailor-made mice for researchers around the world.
In this programme Graham Easton visits the Jackson Laboratories and the Medical Research Council’s mouse genome centre in Harwell. He finds out how the humble mouse started its scientific career, how the science of mouse genetics research links with human illness, and scientists’ rationale for the use of mice to help understand and treat human disease.
Listen again to Programme 1
We may be separated by 100 million years of evolution, but humans have much in common with the mouse. We’re both mammals and we share nearly 95% of our genes. But unlike us, mice also breed rapidly and easily in a laboratory. And that’s why many scientists see the mouse as one of the most important models for understanding human biology and disease.
In this programme Graham finds out about some of the key medical breakthroughs in treatment and diagnosis that the mouse has been involved in. He also explores what life is really like for the laboratory mouse in the research lab.
Listen again to Programme 2
|National Institute for Medical Research|
Mouse Genome Centre
The Jackson Laboratory
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