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Models of the Murine Persuasion Have Limits

It turns out that mice may not make the best models for studying some human conditions. A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week reports that the genomic response due to inflammatory stresses, such as trauma, burns, and sepsis, in mouse models wasn't an accurate representation of what happened in their human counterparts.

The PNAS paper suggests some ways to improve animal models but the researchers ultimately argue for greater "focus on the more complex human conditions rather than relying on mouse models" at least as far as human inflammatory disease is concerned.

"We're not saying don't use animal models, but we need to recognize that simple model systems do not reproduce complex human disease," Ronald Tompkins, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study, tells The Scientist.

The Scan

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.

Active Lifestyle Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in People at High Genetic Risk

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that an active lifestyle goes a long way in type 2 diabetes prevention.

Beneficial, Harmful Effects of Introgression Between Wild and Domesticated European Grapes

A paper in PNAS shows that European wild grapevines were an important resource for improving the flavor of cultivated wine grapes.

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.