Why you can't do science with just any old mouse


24 Responses to “Why you can't do science with just any old mouse”

  1. jackwilliambell says:

    Always use the right mouse. And don’t forget to mount a scratch monkey!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I used the wrong mouse once and crashed my hard drive.

  3. Steve says:

    Poor mice. They suffer and for what? So we evil humans can live longer…unless you don’t believe in God, in which case, “evil” and “good” are merely words which have no real meaning.

    • Wirelizard says:

      So much wrong in this paragraph I don’t even know where to start…

      The lab mice articles, though: fascinating. More like this!


      There are no absolutes, imaginary man in the sky or not. Subjectivity and shades of gray everywhere, pal.

  4. Brainspore says:

    Kudos to the researchers for retracting their own work once they realized the flaw in their study. Take note, anti-vaccine evangelists and ESP believers.

  5. mdh says:

    Shorter post: 42

  6. libraryboi says:

    I never understand why media reports about the use of animals in experiments always show healthy animals in neutral settings as your photo does. Failing to show them in experimental setting sanitizes the reality of their lives and the suffering they are subjected to. Their lives matter to them regardless of the purpose for which they were bred.

  7. gstott says:

    I think Jackson Labs in Bar Harbor, ME breed specific mice for scientists.

    • grphiw says:

      Jackson Labs in Bar Harbor, Maine is by far one of the largest, if the largest, mouse suppliers for biology and biochemistry research. I used to do metabolism research and the letter J, which usually signified Jackson Labs, was on nearly every mouse strain, whether it was C57Bl6/J or an SJL. While this means that everyone is working with the exact strain of mouse (i.e., a paper published on C57Bl6/J mice can be easily replicated because C57Bl6/J mice are ubiquitous) and therefore makes it easier to compare studies, it also means that you can have some rather unfortunate consequences. For example, one of the mice models we studied was called the APCmin+/-, a very useful mouse analog for familial colon cancer in humans. However, while everyone uses the Jackson strain of this cancer mouse, Jackson strains have been documented to have an additional mutation not present in any other APCmin+/- stock that modify the colon cancer in a way that renders them largely useless as a human analog.

      But why does everyone else still use the Jackson strain? As far as I can tell, it’s because everyone else is using the Jackson strain. Circular logic at its finest.

  8. mathdemon says:

    One day they will have their revenge.

  9. JustOk says:

    In a few years, there will be another retraction when it is revealed that it was the mice that were conducting experiments on the humans.

  10. Anonymous says:

    another fantastic article about lab mice/creatures by olivia judson:


    it’s from a whiles backs, but it’s still fantastic and charmingly written.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I made mice mutants once, specifically a strain particularly prone to benign teratomas. I also made mutant tetrahymena with a topoisomerase gene that did not work. Scientists are in the business of making mutants, whether they work with mammals or at the molecular level. That’s what we do: if you want to find out how something works in nature, break it and see what happens. You’d be hard pressed to find a lab in the biological sciences that doesn’t have some line of mutant experiments going on. The fact that this lab bought the wrong one is a rather silly story, until one thinks of the tens of thousands of dollars wasted.

    • AnthonyC says:

      “That’s what we do: if you want to find out how something works in nature, break it and see what happens.”

      Not physicists- they just fling things at each other and watch what bounces back. Good thing too- imagine if they broke gravity just to see the results!

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, I’d really like to see you “break” gravity.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        I’m pretty sure astronomy doesn’t work that way either. Yet.

      • Chrs says:

        Oh, but they do dearly try; the whole goal of the LHC and other large colliders is to approximate Big Bang conditions, where various forces merge, and generally don’t work like they normally do.

        They are trying, with the work on the Higgs boson, to locally break gravity, by removing the particles that cause mass.

        Mice genetics are apparently much easier to break, big messy biological systems that they are, accidentally. They often keep on ticking, though, and you don’t know what’s gone wrong until later, because that glorious mess can handle a whole heap of mistakes.

  12. Kleinzeit says:


  13. Purplecat says:

    Their plans thwarted by a tiny mistake. Oh well, just start preparing for tomorrow night.

  14. Anonymous says:

    one point is missed here… that is if you want to bias your results you can by just choosing what mouse you use…

    Hmmm… so drug companies can prove anything they claim just with using the right type of mouse to do so… wow…

  15. Ipo says:

    Steve says:
    …unless you don’t believe in God, in which case, “evil” and “good” are merely words which have no real meaning.

    So many questions…

    Steve, you are the first follower of the Sminthean cult of Apollo I have ever encountered. Or do you worship Ganesha?
    How did you choose from the thousands of available gods?
    I haven’t picked one yet (not sure what I need it for).
    In what way will an “invisible friend” change my perception of good and evil?
    If I invented my own god, would I be a schizophrenic?
    Is this true for the thousands of inventors of the thousands of gods?
    Will my own god also have the function of good and evil determinator?

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