A scientific illustration of a Christmas Island rat
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)
The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.
ABOVE: Joseph Smit; Proc Zool Soc Lond, 1887
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)
Genome Spotlight: Christmas Island Rat (Rattus macleari)

The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.

The near-complete genome of a recently extinct rodent elucidates the potential—and difficulties—of resurrecting species.

ABOVE: Joseph Smit; Proc Zool Soc Lond, 1887

rat

Red blood vessels that decrease in diameter as they radiate outward are pictured on a pink and white surface
Antisense Oligonucleotides Cross Rodents’ Blood-Brain Barrier
Abby Olena | Aug 18, 2021
RNA-DNA complexes that were modified with cholesterol made it into the brains of rats and mice, where they knocked down target genes.
Illustration of two rats, one male and one female, that are surgically joined. The male has a uterus transplanted in, and both have embryos transplanted into their uteruses.
Study that Impregnated Male Rats Stirs Controversy
Andy Tay | Jun 25, 2021
A combination of approaches, including uterus transplantation and the joining of two animals’ circulatory systems, allowed males to bear pups, according to a preprint. But some experts say the experiments were not justified.  
Pain Researcher Quits Academia, Takes Lab Home with Him
Jef Akst | May 1, 2021
After resigning from the University of New England last year, Geoffrey Bove continues to study the effects of massage on rats in a facility he set up in his house.
Infographic: How the Brain Keeps Track of Time in Memories
Catherine Offord | May 1, 2020
Signals from the lateral entorhinal cortex help create “time cells” in the hippocampus, according to some researchers.
rat sleep delta wave memory consolidation cortical neuron activity
Cortical Neurons May Consolidate Memories During Slow Wave Sleep
Emma Yasinski | Oct 18, 2019
Scientists previously thought cortical neurons remained silent during delta waves, but new evidence from rats shows some cells fire in a pattern reflective of memorizing a task.
Image of the Day: Mind Altering
Carolyn Wilke | Mar 11, 2019
A study in rats finds that tiny doses of the psychedelic drug DMT may yield positive effects for anxiety and depression, but there could be downsides too.
Rat Study Points to Role of Uterus in Memory
Carolyn Wilke | Dec 7, 2018
When researchers removed the reproductive organ, female rats had more difficulty solving a water maze.
Cannabinoid Exposure During Adolescence Disrupts Neural Regulation
Jef Akst | Nov 6, 2018
Young rats injected with a synthetic cannabinoid have more of the brain’s motivating dopaminergic signaling and fewer numbers of inhibitory neurons than controls.
Maternal Obesity and Diabetes Linked to Autism in Children
Sukanya Charuchandra | Oct 1, 2018
Inflammation may be a strong contender for the connection between mom’s weight and children’s neurodevelopment, according to lab studies on animals.
Stressed Rodents Make Different Choices
Katarina Zimmer | Mar 1, 2018
Chronic stress tweaks a circuit in the brain that influences how lab rodents make tough decisions. 
Paradise Regained: How the Palmyra Atoll Got Rid of Invasive Mosquitoes
Ruth Williams | Feb 28, 2018
The elimination of the biting pests was an added bonus after researchers unleashed a rat-eradication endeavor on the tiny islands.  
CDC Identifies Seoul Virus Outbreak Among Pet Rat Owners
Diana Kwon | Feb 5, 2018
These are the first known cases of individuals catching the virus from their pets in Canada or the U.S.
CRISPR Helps Mice Hear
Abby Olena | Dec 20, 2017
Researchers reduce the severity of hereditary deafness in mice with the delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 protein-RNA complexes that inactivate a mutant gene in their inner ears. 
Study Pinpoints Potential “Master Regulator” of Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Shawna Williams | Dec 18, 2017
Upping a gene’s expression in rat brains made them better learners and normalized the activity of hundreds of other genes to resemble the brains of younger animals.
Gut Microbiota–Obesity Link Clarified
Catherine Offord | Jun 9, 2016
Changes in diet can cause gut microbes to produce acetate, which in turn stimulates insulin secretion and obesity in rodents, scientists show.
Neural Basis of Risk Aversion
Catherine Offord | Mar 24, 2016
Researchers identify and manipulate a signal in the brains of rats that controls risky behavior.
Sensing North
Jef Akst | Apr 2, 2015
“Blind” rats fitted with a neuroprosthetic device that stimulates the brain when the animals turn their heads to the north or south can navigate mazes as well as sighted rats.
“Inner GPS” Support
Anna Azvolinsky | Feb 5, 2015
Grid cells—the neurons that function as a spatial navigation system—require input from another set of neurons, a rat study shows.
Rat Massages Get the Golden Goose
Molly Sharlach | Sep 4, 2014
Award recognizes research that has improved outcomes for premature babies.