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The Rodent Revolution
By Holly Ahern
A nude mouse
What do nudes, knockouts, and gnotobiotics have in common? Contrary to the images these terms might conjure up, they are not characters in an X-rated horror film set on an alien planet. These are all laboratory animals created expressly for use by scientists in several areas of biology and biomedical research.
The applications for laboratory animals are many and varied, including basic research in genetics, immunology, and cell biology as well as for determining the pathology of microbial infections. Animals carrying defective copies of genes are increasingly used in biomedical research laboratories as model systems for investigating the pathology of human disorders such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. These same animal models aid researchers in their search for treatments and cures.
While all sorts of animals are used in basic and applied research,...