Opinion Article - Journal of Translational Research (2023) Volume 7, Issue 4
An Overview of Mouse Biology and Its Importance in Research
Lara Hemery *
Laboratory of Tissue Plasticity in Health and Disease, Department of Development and Regeneration, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), 3000 Leuven, Belgium
- *Corresponding Author:
- Lara Hemery
Department of Development and Regeneration
KU Leuven (University of Leuven), 3000 Leuven
Received: 25-Jul -2023, Manuscript No. AATR-23-111855; Editor assigned: 26-Jul-2023, PreQC No. AATR-23-111855 (PQ); Reviewed: 09- Aug -2023, QC No. AATR-23-111855; Revised: 12- Aug -2023, Manuscript No. AATR-23-111855 (R); Published: 19- Aug -2023, DOI: 10.35841 /aatr-7.4.152
Citation: Hemery L. An Overview of Mouse Biology and Its Importance in Research. 2023;7(4):152
Mice, those small and unassuming creatures, have played a monumental role in scientific research for decades. Their significance spans across various fields, from genetics and immunology to neuroscience and drug development. As a model organism, mice offer a window into complex biological processes that can be extrapolated to better understand human health and disease. In this article, we delve into the world of mouse biology, exploring its key characteristics and the crucial role it plays in advancing scientific knowledge. Model organisms are species that are extensively studied to understand biological processes, given their suitability for experimental manipulation. Mice stand out as one of the most prominent model organisms due to their genetic similarity to humans. Over 95% of mouse genes have counterparts in the human genome, making them an ideal platform to study human diseases and genetic conditions. Mice reproduce rapidly, with a short generation time of about 8-12 weeks, enabling researchers to study several generations in a relatively short period. Additionally, their small size and ease of maintenance make them practical choices for laboratory settings .
The genetic makeup of mice has been extensively studied and sequenced, leading to a wealth of information about their genome. This knowledge allows researchers to manipulate and study specific genes to understand their functions. Knockout mice, where a specific gene is deliberately deactivated, are commonly used to study the effects of gene loss.Mice have a unique reproductive capacity, with females capable of reproducing as early as six weeks of age. A single female can give birth to a litter of up to a dozen pups, making it possible to study genetic traits and inheritance patterns across generations .
Mouse physiology closely mirrors that of humans in many aspects. Their organ systems, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems, exhibit similarities that allow researchers to study disease progression and treatment responses.Mice have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of cancer. Tumor growth, metastasis, and response to various treatments can be studied in mouse models. These insights have paved the way for the development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies .
The intricate workings of the brain are illuminated through mouse studies. Behavioral experiments, coupled with genetic modifications, help researchers uncover the underpinnings of neurological disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and autism. Mice are indispensable for immunological research. Their immune systems resemble humans' and are used to study immune responses, vaccine development, and autoimmune diseases.Many genetic conditions, such as muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis, are explored using mouse models. Researchers can test potential therapies and interventions to alleviate symptoms or even correct the underlying genetic mutations .
The field of mouse genetics has evolved significantly, thanks to groundbreaking technologies. The advent of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has revolutionized the creation of genetically modified mice. This technique allows for precise and targeted gene alterations, enhancing our ability to mimic human genetic conditions accurately. Additionally, the development of "humanized mice" is noteworthy. These mice carry functional human genes, tissues, or cells, offering a unique platform to study human-specific diseases and test treatments that might not be effective in regular mouse models. While mice have contributed immeasurably to scientific progress, ethical considerations surrounding their use are paramount. Researchers must prioritize ethical treatment and care of these animals, adhering to strict guidelines and minimizing their use whenever possible. Moreover, efforts are ongoing to develop alternative methods, such as in vitro cell cultures and computer simulations, to reduce the reliance on animal models. The future of mouse research likely involves harnessing advanced technologies like organoids, lab-grown mini organs that mimic human tissues, and microfluidic systems that replicate human physiological conditions more accurately .
The unassuming mouse, with its genetic proximity to humans and adaptability to laboratory settings, has unlocked countless scientific discoveries across various disciplines. From unraveling the mysteries of cancer to shedding light on neurological disorders, mouse models have served as invaluable tools in advancing medical knowledge and therapeutic development. As science continues to evolve, ethical considerations and innovative technologies will shape the role of mice in research, ensuring that their contributions remain ethically sound and scientifically significant.
- Sucher NJ. The application of Chinese medicine to novel drug discovery. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2013;8(1):21-34.
- Watkins LR, Maier SF. Glia: a novel drug discovery target for clinical pain. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2003 ;2(12):973-85.
- Rask-Andersen M, Almén MS, Schiöth HB. Trends in the exploitation of novel drug targets. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 ;10(8):579-90.
- Zhao X, Zheng X, Fan TP, et al. A novel drug discovery strategy inspired by traditional medicine philosophies. Science. 2015;347(6219):S38-40.
- Baskin II. The power of deep learning to ligand-based novel drug discovery. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2020;15(7):755-64.