Rodent models in neuroscience research: is it a rat race?

  • Ellenbroek B
  • Youn J
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Abstract

© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.Rodents (especially Mus musculus and Rattus norvegicus) have been the most widely used models in biomedical research for many years. A notable shift has taken place over the last two decades, with mice taking a more and more prominent role in biomedical science compared to rats. This shift was primarily instigated by the availability of a much larger genetic toolbox for mice, particularly embryonic-stem-cell-based targeting technology for gene disruption. With the recent emergence of tools for altering the rat genome, notably genome-editing technologies, the technological gap between the two organisms is closing, and it is becoming more important to consider the physiological, anatomical, biochemical and pharmacological differences between rats and mice when choosing the right model system for a specific biological question. The aim of this short review and accompanying poster is to highlight some of the most important differences, and to discuss their impact on studies of human diseases, with a special focus on neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Ellenbroek, B., & Youn, J. (2016). Rodent models in neuroscience research: is it a rat race? Disease Models & Mechanisms, 9(10), 1079–1087. https://doi.org/10.1242/dmm.026120

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