Calhoun’s prophet rodents and the creation of the “behavioural sink”

I first read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH as a young’un. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was inspired by a series of experiments on population dynamics from the 1940s to the 1970s. The two studies, over a total of eight years, aimed to explore the effects of population … Continue reading Calhoun’s prophet rodents and the creation of the “behavioural sink”

Aww, rats: Australian research rodents prove to be poor earners

The most expensive rat on the menu at the Animal Resources Centre (ARC), in Western Australia, costs $872.13. The priciest mouse is $421.70. Both are pregnant “mutants” – that’s the technical term – which have been bred to a specific genetic design for biomedical research. But in 12–18 months, access to either will be strictly … Continue reading Aww, rats: Australian research rodents prove to be poor earners

Infertility of mice and men

A team of Chinese researchers has used mice to identify a gene that causes male infertility, which may pave a way towards treatment. Male infertility affects 20 million people globally, and – unsurprisingly – contributes to about 50% of infertility in couples. There are a variety of reasons for it, but one of the causes … Continue reading Infertility of mice and men

The rat pack gets the job done

Rats work well in teams, it seems. A new study suggests rodent groups outperform individuals in searching for a target, even when they have limited ability to communicate or share information. Researchers in Europe report this discovery after tweaking the classic “rat in a maze” experiment to make it “rats in a maze”. They used … Continue reading The rat pack gets the job done