Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments?

Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments.
Credit: The Conversation

Mice and Rats always play an important role in lab test in finding the cure of horror and fatal diseases, whether it is to make new effective medicines for cancer or recently researched complete prevention of HIV. Mice and Rats are always being the subject of lab testing. But you have ever wondered, why mostly rats and mice? Why most of the medical experiments done on mice and rats only? Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments?

As per the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), 95 percent of all lab animals are mice and rats. It is not about one or two reasons but there are several different reasons why are rats and mice are the most preferred animals for lab experiments. And out of all those reasons, here are some of the major reasons.

Reasons Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments

  • Convenience, Mice are small in size, which can be easily kept and they can be easily cared for. Along with that, the mice are well suited in the new surroundings.
  • LifeSpan, The average lifespan of mice is 2 to 3 years and the process of reproduction is also quick, so many generations of mice can be seen in a relatively short period, making it easy to know the experiment and its results on different generations.
  • Cheap, Scientists do many researches on their own, for which they do not get any funds from the government or any other organization, that’s why these kinds of research start with a low budget. In such situations, using the mice for the experiment is the right decision, because the mice and rats are relatively cheap and can be easily purchased from commercial producers in large quantities and at a low price, which specially produce mice and rats for research.
  • Behaviour, Another reason for selecting the mice and rats for the experiment is that, except for some breed of rodents, the other mice are generally mildly temperamental and humble, which makes it easy for scientists to control them.
  • Genetically Similar, Most of the mice and rats that injected in the medical test are inbred so that, other than sex differences they are evenly genetically similar. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, it helps to make the results of medical tests more uniform. And as a minimum requirement, rats and mice used in experiments should be of equal pure breed.
Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments.
Credit: Science
  • Familiar Body Structure, Mice and Rats are considered as the most efficient research animals because scientists are very well aware of the Body structure, Psychology, and genetic composition of the mice and rats. Which makes it easy to know what and how much change has occurred in the behavior or characteristics of rats after the experiment.
  • SCID, Some rodents, known as SCID (severe combined immune deficiency) mice, are naturally born without an immune system and therefore these mice can work as models for normal and fatal human tissue research according to the FBR.
  • Similar to Human, Another and the most important reason for why do medical researchers use mice for lab experiment is that their genetic, biological and behavioral characteristics are similar to humans, and many symptoms of human conditions can be repeated in rats and mice. As well as many of the genes responsible for complex diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension are shared between mice and humans. And research in rats provides direction in genetic risk factors for these diseases in humans.

“They bring several really important advantages for discovery-based research, They’re easily bred, small and have well-understood housing conditions. We have the facilities and the expertise to house and breed mice in a humane environment.”

Said By Matthew Griffin, professor of transplant biology at NUI Galway.

For the past two decades, these similarities have got stronger. Now scientists do not just research on naturally-born mice but now scientists can reproduce genetically modified mice called “transgenic mice” which carry such genes that cause human diseases. According to FBR, that’s how such genes can be stopped or disabled which cause the birth of diseases, creating “knockout mice,” which can be used to evaluate the effects of carcinogens that produce deadly disease like cancer and assess drug safety.

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So hopefully, now you may have understood why do medical researchers mostly use rats and mice for lab experiments. Still, if you have any question in your mind regarding why do medical researchers mostly use rats and mice for lab experiments so you can share with us in the comments section.


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