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)
The largest all-sky survey of celestial objects ever made by humans was released this month, using data from The European Space Agency (ESA)’s Gaia satellite.
We know that pigeons are capable of becoming crafty drug smugglers or connoisseurs of fine art, but now we know they can kind of tell when we’re making up words.
The legendary cup, designed to punish greedy drinkers, explained masterfully by Salad Fingers’ dad Sir Martyn Poliakoff. His YouTube channel is packed with similarly excellent videos wherein lab assistant Neil is persuaded to execute unnerving experiments. (previously.)
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When you’ve had a long day and it’s time to unwind, there’s a lot you can do to relax: drink some tea, take a shower or even read a book. But there’s one thing that’s essential to a comfortable night’s rest—and that’s investing in some really good sheets. Enter Bamboo Bed Sheets. These quality sheets retail for $120, but […]
The Avantree Powerhouse 4 Port Fast USB Charging Station brings high quality, high power, and still keeps your work space or home looking neat and organized. The best part about this charger is its capacity. It comes packing 4 USB charging sockets and a powerful 4.5A/22.5W output.. Its smartport technology means you don’t have to worry about frying your battery, either—it […]