Mice in medical research
This video shows the standard caging used for mice in animal houses. It is important to note that mice are much smaller than the other mammals used in research, so although their cages appear small, there is plenty of room for their needs. They are social animals, benefiting from being housed together in small groups and their natural behaviour involves grouping together in small spaces. Other natural behaviours including nesting and tunneling, and is why they are provided with fairly deep bedding. Mice and other small rodents also like to hide inside dark spaces, which is the reason for the plastic casing in the cages. It is termed the ‘red mouse house’ and is beneficial as the mouse cannot see out of the box and so feels secure, but the researcher can see in. This video has no sound.
Mice are the most commonly used vertebrate animal in research. 82% of studies involve small rodents, the majority of which are mice. They are ideal candidates for research as they are small, inexpensive and easy to handle. The ability to map genomes led to the discovery that 99% of human genes have an equivalent in mice. Often, the only way of determining the function of a human gene is to in insert it into, or remove it from the mouse genome, putting them at the forefront of genetic research.