image of a mouse

Mus musculus (Mouse)

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Scientific Name: Mus musculus

Organism Facts:

  • Easiest mammal to breed and maintain in laboratory conditions.
  • Share about 85% of their genes with humans, making them relevant for studying human disease.
  • Used in the discovery of antibiotics including penicillin, streptomycin, and in the development of vaccines for yellow fever and polio.
  • Can be genetically engineered to serve as models of Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, obesity, and others.

 Which UI Department of Biology researchers study this organism:

Mark Blumberg

Micheal Dailey

Bernd Fritzsch

Steven Green

Alan Kay

Jim (Jung-Ching) Lin

Christopher Stipp

Joshua Weiner

Why UI Department of Biology researchers use this organism:

  • Study the mammalian brain, arguably the most complex system in all of biology.
  •  Research how neurons are formed, maintained, and connected. Up to 100 trillion connections may occur in the human brain. When connections are not properly made, a number of genetic and syndromic disorders can occur including forms of autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, and schizophrenia.
  • Understand how the ear develops and functions. Their research focuses on hearing loss and how to develop and improve treatments for the hearing impaired.