Laboratory mice are not the same creatures you'll find living in your wall or a farm field. Instead, they are highly specialized. Whether born of high-tech genetic manipulation or good, old-fashioned selective breeding, each type of mouse—and there are thousands in the catalogs—is designed to test specific types of questions. Use the wrong mouse, and your data will be worthless. Or, at least, your conclusions will be incorrect.
That's what happened recently, when the authors of a 2006 paper in the Journal of Immunology retracted their work after belatedly realizing that it was based on studies done with the wrong mouse. They'd meant to buy a mouse that lacked a specific gene. Instead, thanks to a simple typo, they'd ended up with mice that lacked that gene—and a key chemical receptor in its cells, which changed the outcome of the research.
I've written a little about the strange world of laboratory mice, both here, and in mental_floss. Want more? There's a Wired story by Gary Wolfe that will interest you, as well.
(Via Alexandra Witze)
Texas State University’s Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the […]
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]