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Sci-Fi Biotech Science

Genetic Modification Produces Mighty Mouse 320

Posted by Zonk
from the always-liked-danger-mouse-and-duckula-better dept.
Identity Missing writes "An Ohio laboratory has produced genetically modified mice which 'can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping,' as well as a number of other remarkable feats. An enzyme called phosphoenolypyruvate carboxykinases (PEPCK-C) is apparently responsible, and we should hope that the scientists are correct in saying that athletes won't be modifying their genes any time soon to get it, because it apparently makes the mice more aggressive. If anyone feels a super villain coming on, at least we can rely on these Mighty Mice. A video demonstrates just how much these little guys beat the competition."
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Genetic Modification Produces Mighty Mouse

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  • by AmIAnAi (975049) * on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:16AM (#21212167)
    The Same thing we do every night Pinky. Try to take over the world.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:17AM (#21212181) Journal
    Someone will just have to build a better mousetrap!
  • That's a mind-boggling 0.745645431 mph!
    • I think the point isn't the speed, but the distance they can cover without stopping.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SQLGuru (980662)
      Yes, but what... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen genetically modified with PEPCK-C swallow?

      Layne

    • They're also Mice. An ant can lift 50x its own body weight... even if that's only a few grams. A flea can jump X it's own length, even if that's only a few feet.

      Still 6km is over 3.5 miles. I'd like to see the majority of ./ers walk that, let alone run at a pace like this mouse has done.

      Are there any side effects, such as sudden death?
      • by darthflo (1095225)
        It's only about a one-hour walk or half-hour jog. Everybody over 12 and under 60 should be *really* concerned if they don't manage to do it.
        If you're talking about scaling this up according to size/weight differences, it becomes a whole different deal. Estimating a mouse's length at about 15 cm and a person's at 2 meters, one had to make some 84 kilometers at 14 km/h. For comparison: A marathon is some 42 kilometers and done (world record) in two hours and a few minutes. I don't know too much about human s
  • I for one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:18AM (#21212199)
    hope that these rodents don't escape the lab.

    Ordinary mice are hard enough to control as pests...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by welcher (850511)
      It seems unlikely that this would actually confer a selective advantage on the mouse - being able to run like crazy but need almost twice as much food doesnt sound like a good strategy to me.
    • Re:I for one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:53AM (#21212847) Homepage Journal
      My suspicion is that they wouldn't do well in the wild. Aggression and strength in the natural world have to be balanced with food requirements, which is basically why not every living thing is super-strong, super-fast, and super-tough. Dire wolves are gone for a reason ... These mice "eat twice as much and weigh half as much," which sounds great to people living in the modern industrialized world, but is a pretty serious liability for a wild animal.

      Also, they may be amazingly tough for mice, but you know, they're still mice. No matter how big and strong they may be, there are still plenty of critters bigger and stronger than they. If their aggression translates into a lack of caution around predators, then they'd essentially be nothing but a nice lean snack for health-conscious cats. ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      A mouse like this will face a penalty for its increased speed. For a start, they will require more food (a scarce enough resource for any wild mouse) and since PEPCK is involved in gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from precursors such as protein and lipids) they will likely have a harder time laying down the fat needed to survuive the colder months.

      Also, since these are albino mice they will likely face increased threat from predation (like most other albino animals) and thus face a signific

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kurzweilfreak (829276)
      I'm sure they remembered to build in a Lysine Contingency. It's SOP in these cases, ya know...
  • So (Score:5, Funny)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@@@xmsnet...nl> on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:19AM (#21212209)
    Acme Labs is at it again?
  • Testosterone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark (865376)
    More aggressive? Sounds like what this actually does is produce testosterone or something equivalent, not better muscles/hearts directly.
  • by lonesome_coder (1166023) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:19AM (#21212215)
    ...don't make them angry. You wouldn't like them when they are angry...
  • Cool. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:22AM (#21212295) Homepage Journal
    Overclocked mice! Do they have an overheat problem?
    • UniSol Mice?
    • by Surt (22457)
      Yes, if you watch to the very end of the video, the little super mouse just spontaneously combusts. It was pretty sad really, I bet the researchers felt pretty bad about that.
  • PEBCAK? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:23AM (#21212301)
    Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard? I had no idea it could be applied for this purpose!
  • by NPN_Transistor (844657) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:23AM (#21212303)
    I have a mighty mouse, yet it can't "run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill", feel aggression, or do "a number of other remarkable feats". All it does is sit in my hand and make clicking noises when I try to pet it. It runs a lot longer than "six hours", but it doesn't seem to do anything else. It doesn't seem to have any eyes or a tail either. I think it might be defective... maybe I should return it to Apple.
  • athletes won't be modifying their genes any time soon to get it, because it apparently makes the mice more aggressive.

    Athletes? Who cares about them? We need to apply this to super-powered soldiers that can run all over the world aggressively killing anything and everything in their path!

    Forget about ROID RAGE, now we have PEPCK APOPLECTICISM!
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      Steroids make you more agressive too and athletes haven't had any qualms about taking them, so I don't see that as a problem. The killer is of course you'd have to modify the dna before conception, which is kinda hard for a current athlete (unless they've invented a star trek DNA resequencer when I wasn't looking).

      The solder thing? You can bet 100% that this kind of thing is going on *already*. Where do you think the money comes for funding this kind of stuff.
      • by arivanov (12034)
        Yeah... Let's not discuss a certain Australian female athlete taking a husband from the Ethiopian long distance running team for purposes of selective breeding a few years back. Let's not discuss the actual genealogy and breeding of this one: http://www.musclemayhem.com/front/content/view/238/120/ [musclemayhem.com] Though it looks like her mom and pop have supplemented that with the "traditional remedies" AKA steroids as well. And so on...
    • by techpawn (969834)
      But what happens when the Red Skull comes looking for our super solider formula? Will We wind-up taking the only survivor of the program out with a sniper when he goes against government wishes to comply with registration too...
  • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:24AM (#21212335)
    I've always wondered what would be possible if humans were regularly experimented on in the same fashion. Of course it's unethical, but I bet we'd have humans that can live 300 years and run 10,000 miles at a clip if we cut out the middle man ;)
    • by prelelat (201821)
      OR live 3 years and run 2 miles at a clip. either way it would be fun while it lasted ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lord Ender (156273)
      Why is it unethical? If you could save thousands of lives by curing a disease, but curing the disease required potentially deadly experiments on a few people, wouldn't it be unethical NOT to proceed with the research?
      • by JoshJ (1009085)
        So we'll mandate experiments on a few people to provide a better good for the rest of humanity? So much for freedom.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        If you could save thousands of lives by curing a disease, but curing the disease required potentially deadly experiments on a few people, wouldn't it be unethical NOT to proceed with the research?
        Is it just me, or is that a quote from about 50% of all sci-fi films?
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday November 02, 2007 @12:07PM (#21213133) Homepage Journal

        Why is it unethical? If you could save thousands of lives by curing a disease, but curing the disease required potentially deadly experiments on a few people, wouldn't it be unethical NOT to proceed with the research?
        You first.
      • It turns on the area of consent.

        If the people you are going to do the deadly experiments on do not consent, it's unethical (actually I'd say evil).

        If you lie to them about the risks... also unethical (and a lot of medical testing downplays the risks and doesn't help the testees when something terrible happens) and only slightly less evil.

        If you fully inform them off all the risks you are aware of and they give informed consent, then it is not evil.

      • it's not ok to decide to sacrifice someone life for a good cause without their knowledge

        it is 100% ok to volunteer to have your life sacrificied for a good cause

        it is very important to understand and discern the difference between these two scenarios
    • by db32 (862117)
      It has been done. Here [wikipedia.org] and here [remember.org] are good places to start. You may even look up Bayer warcrimes while you are at it. We don't have humans that can live 300 years and run 10,000 miles at a clip... Wonder no more at the possibilities...
  • Mighty? (Score:5, Funny)

    by robably (1044462) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:26AM (#21212361) Journal
    So the modified mouse runs on the treadmill for six hours, while the normal mouse has a nice sit down and watches it. Maybe this modification just makes mice stupid.
    • by OverlordQ (264228)
      Maybe this modification just makes mice stupid.

      Well remember, humans are only the third smartest creatures on Earth. After dolphins and mice . . . so what does that say about you ;)
    • by AbRASiON (589899) *
      Well you know what your average chump at the gym is like,...
  • by oo7tushar (311912) <slash.@tushar.cx> on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:26AM (#21212375) Homepage
    All I see is the that the "slower" mouse realizes that they're going nowhere on the treadmill.
  • Do you really think a couple of hyperactive mice are going to stop General Zod?

    You guys really need to check your definition of what a super villain is.
  • "If anyone feels a super villain coming on"

    Like in a bar? should I be worried about getting touched by evil people? Are genetically modified mice really my only line of defense?
    • It begins with Mice, but we quickly escalate to Gerbils.

      The gay supervillain thinks he's insering a normal Gerbil, butt he inserts the GM-Uber-Gerbil and that's the end of him.
  • "The early bird gets the worm, bit it's the second mouse that gets the cheese."


    These mice may be quick enough to not only get the cheese but also leave a tip. And if you piss them off they will move the loaded mousetrap onto your bedroom floor.

  • Superior abilities breed superior ambition.

    Watch your cheese!
  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:31AM (#21212457) Journal
    I see little reason to think that we'll see any social arguments about this genetic modification that we don't already see about a) steroids, hormones, and precursors or b) genetic modifications in general.

    Isn't this linked to the Wired article from over three years ago [wired.com] about experiments at Howard Hughes Medical Institute [hhmi.org] in which researchers were messing with PPAR-delta and got similar results? Where's the reference to earlier work on the subject?
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:35AM (#21212541)
    Originally genetic modification was just things like making mice glow. Now they're creating results that would be appealing to exactly the wrong people: the military.

    As soon as a science has military application it gets billions poured into it. Even if there are beneficial offshoots to the research that follows the repercussions are usually awful. Think atom bombs and biological weapons.

    It is not unreasonable at this point to wonder where we're going to end up as a species. If we can genetically create human beings with abilities that far outpace anything an unmodified can do will that become the norm?

    In my lifetime (40 years) genetic modification has gone from theory to fact. I am worried that it will be horribly abused.
    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      I'm pretty sure that the first transgenic mouse [genesdev.org] was created to study cancer (actually to get cancer so that we could study it.)
    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday November 02, 2007 @12:03PM (#21213047)

      As soon as a science has military application it gets billions poured into it. Even if there are beneficial offshoots to the research that follows the repercussions are usually awful. Think atom bombs and biological weapons.


      You have a twisted view of the world, my friend.

      I think a far more rational way of interpreting what happens is that the offshoots are awful (atom bombs, biological weapons), while the repercussions are beneficial (infectious disease research, nuclear power). Far more people are living longer, and better lives because of military-driven advancements in science, then the number of people that have been harmed or killed by the inventions that follow.
    • While atomic bombs and biological weapons are 'terrible', in terms of overall damage and pain/suffering they don't compare to conventional explosives (which no calls inhumane). And in terms of nuclear technology, I imagine the nuclear research was easily worth the terrible cost in lives (an invasion of japan/extended war would likely have had many more casualties and affected lives) and will eventually touch more lives in a positive fashion (if it hasn't already) through the gains to society. Biological wea
    • by sckeener (137243)
      All the military applications of this would be a short term advantage, one or two generations, before it is too wide spread to be an issue. After that it is the government that should fear its people. Modifying people for military applications is a sure way to topple a government.

      Anyone watching 4400? Creating new sub-cultures with the power to do things others can't, isn't a good method for bringing people together. It is a receipt for ripping societies apart.

      Now if they kept the numbers small it wouldn
    • by monomania (595068)
      I was about to post these same thoughts. Why is it that the absolute worst parts of Science Fiction get turned into fact before the fun parts?
  • Spidey sense? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpuriousLogic (1183411) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:51AM (#21212813)
    Anyone else remember this from SpiderMan? The serum that is used on Norman Oswald was first used on mice to turn them into super mice, but had the side effect of making them incredibly aggressive....
  • by Faw (33935) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:52AM (#21212825)
    Captain America and the super-soldier serum.
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:57AM (#21212923)
    The Energizer battery company would pay big $ for such a LIVING mascot.
    With all that $, they'll be able to fund future research...
  • Did anyone else think of that shrimp video where it's running on the treadmill to the Yakety Sax music?
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @12:07PM (#21213123) Homepage
    Does it come with two buttons?
  • No the supervillains are the guys that got treated in the secret human program run last year, which proved to make them psychotic too. Now they are running extra mouse trials so they can make it public as a CYA.
  • by JJRRutgers (595466) on Friday November 02, 2007 @12:12PM (#21213201)
    A direct link to a Quicktime movie on the headline and the host server didn't get slashdotted? I wonder if they applied the same genetic modification to the server?
  • we should hope that the scientists are correct in saying that athletes won't be modifying their genes any time soon to get it, because it apparently makes the mice more aggressive.

    Is it just me being paranoid or does anyone else see the obvious application of an ultra-resistant hyper-aggressive human? Isn't a soldier capable of running for hours without stopping while killing everyone on his/her path without doubt or remorse one of those weapons that make generals and politicians dream wet dreams of a w

  • that's what makes them possible

    all the experiments are doing is letting loose the maximum potential of the mouse. mother nature, evolution, purposefully attenuates this potential for an obvious reason: this mouse outruns, outlives, outreproduces... and OUTEATS normal mice

    put this supermouse in the wild, and it will be quickly dead. because real mice face an enormous food resource pressure. and so it pays in the wild to need very little food, even when this reduces your overall capacity in other avenues of y
  • "An Ohio laboratory has produced genetically modified mice which 'can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping,' as well as a number of other remarkable feats.

    Remarkable? A 0.74 mph mouse is remarkably slow. [onlineconversion.com]
    A domestic cat can run at speeds of 30 mph. [catsinfo.com]

  • by m2943 (1140797) on Friday November 02, 2007 @12:44PM (#21213687)
    But Professor Hanson played this down. "Right now, this is impossible to do - putting a gene into muscle. It's unethical.

    I'm tired of people claiming that it's "unethical" to enhance one's body--or destroy it for that matter. What substances I ingest or what modifications I make to my body is my own business. Even genetic modifications to one's own children aren't automatically "unethical".

    Genetic engineering on humans is going to happen. Get over it.
  • by John Sokol (109591) on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:48PM (#21216507) Homepage Journal
    20 (meters per minute) = 0.745645431 mph
      that doesn't seem very fast for a mouse. Maybe running for 6 hours is amazing though.

      Mice can run up to 4 Kilometers per hour this is around 2.48548477 mph
            See: http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/figsonly/207/22/3839 [biologists.org]

        So they are running at around 30% of there maximum speed.

        To put that into some perspective humans walk at around 3mph. and sprint for short distances at 20 Mph.
        A 4 Minute mile is 15 Mph, this is considered very good for a runner.

        The Marathon world record time running a 42.195 kilometers distance is 2 hours 4 minutes and 26 seconds, set in the Berlin Marathon by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia on September 30, 2007.
        This required an average speed of 13 Miles per hour for 2 hours. Just amazing really.

        For regular humans in a Marathon the average time is more like to 4 hours or around 6.5 Mph.
              http://www.marathonguide.com/features/Articles/2005RecapOverview.cfm [marathonguide.com]

        So to compare this with mice a humans peak is 15Mph (4 minute Mile) so 30% of peak is is 4.5 Mph.

        This accomplishment for mice is roughly equal to humans running at 4.5 Mph for 6 hours. for 27 miles or 43.452 kilometers just over a marathon distance. 6 Hour times are well below average and would be the slow runners in a marathon.

        So the mice are running a slow Marathon! Well below a human average.

     

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