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About one-third of 1751 genes studied in the first comprehensive survey of the mouse genome are essential to life, according to research by an international collaboration including the University of California, Davis, Mouse Biology Program. Mutations of these genes cause death at the embryo stage. Many of them have counterparts in the human genome, so understanding why these genes are so vital could help prioritize human genes for study.

"This is the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and it shows that one-third of the mouse protein-coding genome is essential to life," said Kent Lloyd, professor of surgery at UC Davis and director of the Mouse Biology Program and the NIH-funded Knockout Mouse Project. "This begins to inform what may be happening in people."

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, which includes UC Davis researchers, is generating and characterizing "knockout" mutations for all of the protein-coding genes in the mouse genome. The consortium aims to discover new functions for the roughly 20,000 genes mice share with humans, providing tools for investigating human disease.

The new study reports the results of the first 1,751 genes characterized by the consortium, finding that nearly one-third are essential for life. These include 410 that are fully lethal when mutated, and an additional 198 for which fewer than half of the expected number of mutants were identified, meaning that only a few variations of the gene lead to viable offspring.

Using high-resolution 3D imaging and automated, computational analysis of the images, the researchers established for each gene both the time of embryonic death and why the embryos died, shedding light on the function of these genes.

High-resolution computed tomography image of a 9 1/2-day-old mouse embryo. Using advanced imaging techniques, an international team including UC Davis researchers has been able to work out the function of hundreds of genes that are essential to develop a live mouse. Because these genes have human equivalents, they could be used to home in on important genes to study in human diseases.
Credit: Doug Rowland, UC Davis.

Human counterparts are candidates for precision medicine

Many of these genes have counterparts in the human genome, and these genes are thus strong candidates for undiagnosed human genetic conditions.

"Where we don't know the cause of disease, they may not have a full knockout, but a variant that doesn't work quite right," Lloyd said.

The mouse data could help prioritize genes to study through the national Precision Medicine Initiative, he said.

The knockout mice generated are available to other researchers who may be investigating particular pathways or disease phenotypes.

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium includes: the Knockout Mouse Project, a consortium led by UC Davis; a similar consortium led by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as international partners. All three U.S. organizations are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Source: ScienceDaily.com 

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BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER!!! Yesterday we were called to a Sarasota/Bradenton area home at the same time as one of our competitors.

Just because a company spends a lot of money on advertising, doesn’t make them a good rodent pest control company.

They are a much larger company who may or may not dress their yellow vehicles to appear like a rat/mouse. The company showed up to do a rodent inspection on the home with only a 6 foot ladder leaving them unable to get on the roof to look for possible entry points up there (which is the source of most rat/mouse issues) or check the integrity of the chimney (which extended much higher than the roof). We asked him, “if you can’t inspect the entire home for a pest proofing, how can you guarantee a customer you can handle their rat problem completely?”  Of course the tech just ignored me. Please remember, just because a company has more employees & spends more on advertising, does not make them the best choice. At Rodent Solutions, we believe in quality customer service, not the quick $$$.

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Rodents Fear Men (Women, Not So Much)

Men stress out rodents, according to a new study, which found that even the smell of a man could elicit fear in mice and rats.

The study, published in the latest issue of Nature Methods, demonstrates how the hardwiring of some animals may cause them to react differently toward men or women. It has important applications for laboratory studies involving rodents, since the sex of the experimenter could affect research outcomes.

Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University’s Department of Psychology and colleagues used what is known as “the mouse grimace scale” to compare mouse responses to pain in the presence of male or female experimenters. Reading about this study may make some grimace, themselves.

The researchers induced pain in mice via injections of an inflammatory agent. They then compared facial grimacing of the mice in the presence of either a male or a female experimenter.

Mogil and his team noted a marked reduction in pain sensation, known as “stress-induced analgesia,” when a man conducted the experiment. In keeping with that finding, the mice in the presence of men also showed increases in body temperature and corticosterone levels. Corticosterone is a stress hormone.

The same thing happened when the female experimenters donned T-shirts that previously had been worn by men, strongly suggesting that the odor of the men is what triggered the stress.

The rodents left behind their own smelly evidence.

“Supporting the assertion that exposure to male odor is stressful is the significant increase in fecal boli deposited by mice in the 30-minute testing period in which they were exposed to male, but not female, worn t-shirts,” the researchers wrote.

It could be that testosterone or male pheromones trigger fear in rodents, but the exact reasons remain a mystery.

Pet rodents doted on by male caretakers seem to display no such fear, so it may be possible that life experiences can overcome any mice or rat predispositions.

Laboratory animals, however, obviously don’t receive that kind of pet pampering, so the study could have far-reaching implications for future research involving mice, rats and other rodents.

As Mogil and his team conclude, “Our findings strongly suggest that standard laboratory practice should account for experimenter sex when investigating any phenomenon possibly affected by stress.”

Source: http://news.discovery.com/

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