Knockout Mice

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A knockout mouse is a mouse that has been genetically engineered were researchers have deactivated, or "knocked out," a present gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA. The loss of gene activity after it has been knocked out often causeís changes. A mouse's phenotype that includes appearance, behaviour and other observable physical and biochemical characteristics become apparent.

Mice used for knockout research are very important animal models used for studying the role of genes that have been sequenced without the functions having been determined. By knocking out a specific gene in a mouse and making it inactive, scientist then observe the mouse for differences from a mouseís normal behaviour to physiology. By doing this the scientists can deduce the genes probable function.

Mice have been found to be the most closely related laboratory animal species to humans with the knockout technique being easily applied. Mice are used in experiments largely for this reason and to help answer questions related to human physiology. Rats used for gene knockout is much harder and has only been possible since 2003.
In 1989 the first recorded knockout mouse was created by Mario R. Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007.
Aspects of the technology for generating knockout mice, and the mice themselves have been patented in many countries by private companies.

By Knocking out the activity of a gene provides information about what that gene would normally do. With Humans sharing many genes with mice, observing the characteristics of mice that have had genes knocked out will give researchers information that can be used to better understand how a similar gene in humans may cause or contribute to disease.
Research with the use of knockout mice has been very useful in the study and modelling of the likes of different kinds of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, anxiety, substance abuse, Parkinsonís disease and aging. Knockout mice also provide a biological and scientific background in which drugs and other therapies can be developed and tested.

A mouse can be annoying where mice can be a bigger problem! Getting rid of mice can be done in many ways such as the use of traps that kill or catch and poisons. Controlling mice in and around your home must be taken seriously as they can introduce illnesses to your family as well as transfer fleas to pets.

  • Mice will normally sleep for over 12 hours a day.
  • Mice eat, or at least chew anything that is softer than their teeth.
  • Mice are very neat as they will sleep, eat and excrete in different places.
  • Mice do not like rats as rats are known to prey on mice however in the wild they do live together.
  • Mice can jump straight up to about 18 inches and are also very good climbers and swimmers.
  • A male mouse is called a buck.
  • A female mouse is called a doe.
  • The offspring of mice are called pups or kitten.
  • A group of mice are called a family, horde or a nest.
  • A wild mouse will live no longer than 1 year.
  • A pet mouse may live for between 2 and 3 years.
  • A mouseís tail is almost as long as its body.
  • Mice do not see in colour.
  • Mice are nocturnal creatures.
  • Mice can and will chew through anything softer than their teeth.
  • Mice cause more than 1 billion dollarsí worth of damage in the US alone each year.

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