From formulating the latest wonder drug to testing food experiments, mice and rats play a very important role in developing medical breakthroughs and latest discoveries. According to the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), 95 percent of all lab animals are mice and rats.
Why do scientists and researchers rely on mice and rats for medical experiments? First, it is more convenient since these rodents are small, easily maintained and housed, and can adapt well to new surroundings. They also can quickly reproduce and have a short lifespan of two to three years. So one can observe several generations of mice in a relatively short period of time.
They are also relatively inexpensive and can be bought in bulk quantities from commercial producers that breed mice and rats specifically for research. They are also easy to handle, since these rodents are generally docile and mild-tempered.
Most of the mice and rats used in medical experiments are inbred so that, other than sex differences, they are almost genetically identical, helping make the results more uniform.
Another reason these rodents are used as models in medical testing is that their genetic, biological and behavior characteristics closely resemble those of humans, and many symptoms of human conditions can be replicated in mice and rats.
Some examples of human disorders and diseases for which mice and rats are used as models include hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cataracts, respiratory problems, cancer, HIV, and AIDS.
Using mice and rats in research is important to leading to cures, useful drugs, and therapies.