Science and Rodents

People involved in research often spend time with rodents. My first research job involved lots and lots of mice, some rats and some rabbits. As a result, I can see the truth and humor in this T-shirt from Threadless.

Needless to say, the rodents never survived the experience though the ones we used for antibody production often lasted for quite a few months. Pretty easy duty, actually. We'd inject a rabbit or rat with some antigen, wait for the antibody titer to grow, bleed the rodent a few times, maybe every other week, and then, in the end, we'd say goodbye to our rat or bunny.

Not much different than being an animal on a farm or some such where the animal is being raised for eventual slaughter. We don't eat the flesh but we do use the blood products in various ways.

You can see why this T-shirt is funny. After all the use we put to rodents, it's not surprising that they'd want a little payback on us scientists. One of those "You will rue the day" type things.

These days I don't do much animal experimentation. In fact I went for almost 20 years without touching a single lab animal. But now I do occasional work with mice in an attempt to find ways to prevent breast tumors from growing. Sorry mice.


rosemary said…
If one mouse will save my breast....test your heart out.
I figure scientist have to do tests on something living. Better mice than people - and if a cure for anything is found, more the better!
srp said…
Rather on mice than dogs and cats.
But still, you can't translate everything from rats and mice to man. I would hope that much could eventually studied simply by computer modeling.

The senior class of med school made a film each year. Ours included a skit where the roles were reversed... the dogs were working on the humans in Physiology lab... a bit scary there.

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