A gift, handmade by Ms. Ether.
Keep those paws warm!!
Mice Start Deadly Fire That Kills 100 Cats at ShelterReported by: RNSSaturday, Dec 20, 2008 @11:25am CST
Canadian authorities say mice were responsible for starting a fire that killed about 100 cats at an animal shelter.
The "Toronto Star" reports the 250-thousand-dollar blaze is still under investigation, but preliminary reports suggest it began from mice chewing through electrical wires.
Several rabbits and rodents also died in the fire but firefighters were able to save nine dogs.
While many flooded the shelter's website with donations, some are questioning why the animals were left unattended overnight.
According to the shelter's manager, it can't afford an overnight staff.
"Stereocilia increase the surface area of the epithelium for absorption."Oh, what a fascinating life I lead...
Every day, he runs for miles on his hamster wheel and rides a motorcycle.
Well, he runs inside the large front wheel of his toy motorcycle, and that propels it around a small track.
But Running Bear is up for a new challenge, so he plans to start agility training.
His owner, Marna Kazmaier of Belle Fourche, SD, says that hamsters, rats, gerbils, mice and rabbits can learn to run -- or at least meander --over an agility course.
Many people may not know that hamsters can be trained just like other pets. At least that's what some proud "hammie" owners say.
The good news is that you don't have to teach them to bite. They do that on their own. Agility training takes a little more work.
"It's a lot of fun and easier than most people might think to train the little animals to run a course," said Kazmaier.
If you put a treat in your hand, most hamsters will follow it, Kazmaier explains.
"Hamsters, as a whole, are not agility course runners," said Kazmaier. "They kind of meander over the course, but they're cute all the same."
Hamsters do not jump over obstacles but climb over them so the pieces need to be stable, especially for bigger males, said Kazmaier.
Apparently, there isn't much to do in South Dakota...
"I had a chicken I taught to do a few tricks," Kazmaier said. "Training animals is kinda my thing."
According to the Web site MyHammie.com, you can teach your hamster to stand on its hind legs. Take a sunflower and hold it over the hamster's head and say the word "stand."
Eventually, you can just tell the hamster to stand without a treat, the Web site claims.
Right. And I can teach a "hammie" to fly.
"Given the many factors that have the ability to affect digit ratio, it is clearly more complicated than a simple testosterone-driven manliness metric."
Finger length linked to
desire to exerciseEDMONTON, Alberta, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Canadian and U.S. researchers say there is a direct correlation between the length of fingers and being motivated to hit the gym.
Researchers at the University of Alberta and University of California-Riverside, who conducted a study using 1,000 white mice, said the findings seem to support a stronger connection between digit length, voluntary exercise and high levels of prenatal stress hormones -- indicated by the difference in activity level between the control mice and the selectively bred, active mice.
The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, suggests prenatal stress, rather than prenatal testosterone levels in the womb, forms a component of the inherent desire for physical activity.
"The research shows a link, or relationship, between the brain, behavior and personality traits and the shape of the hand," lead researcher Peter Hurd of the University of Alberta said in a statement. "It opens the door to the notion that aspects of one's personality, in this case the desire to exercise, are fixed very early in life.
6 September: London Championship Show, Rivermead Leisure Centre
20 September: Annual Cup Show, St Christophers Church Hall
12 October: Peterborough Agricultural Show
25 October: Swindon Mouse Club, Hermitage Village Hall
1 November: Greater Manchester Mouse Club, Methodist Church
22 November: Yorkshire Mouse Club
21 December: Stafford Poultry ShowThese events are under sponsorship of the National Mouse Club. Although the phenomenon peaked in the Victorian era, fancy mice are alive and squeaking. As I have posted previously, fancy mice--mice bred for mouse beauty pageants--were instrumental in the introduction of mice into biomedical research. In fact, mice of the common breed C57BL/6 are direct descendants of fancy mouse number 57.
Woman Shoots Herself While Trying to Kill Mice
POTTER VALLEY, Calif. — A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.
The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.
But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.
Authorities did not release the shooting victims' names.
The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.
If you are a fan of the Tour de France bicycle race, you know all about EPO, or erythropoietin.
EPO is naturally found in the body and its normal function is to induce the production of red blood cells, or erythrocytes. Since the red blood cells carry oxygen, more red blood cells mean more oxygen available to the muscle, which in turn means improved athletic performance.
As a drug, EPO is used to treat conditions like anemia, but it can also be used (illegally) to boost an athlete’s red blood cell count. The Tour de France is a grueling race, and many are tempted to make it a little easier. If you are caught using EPO, you are kicked out. EPO is part of a long history of doping in the Tour, and cycling in general.
The body can make more EPO naturally, under conditions of low oxygen, or hypoxia. That’s why people living at high altitudes, where there is less oxygen, have more red blood cells. It's also why Tour de France competitors often train at high altitude.
Proteins in the lungs called hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) sense the low oxygen and induce the production of more EPO to make more red blood cells. HIFs are also present in the skin of frogs. Since amphibians can breathe through their skin, this makes sense. What is surprising is that these people found HIFs in mouse skin, too.
They wanted to see if skin HIFs had any functional significance in mice, so they rigged up chambers in which they could control the oxygen content of the air the mice breathe independently of the air that contacts their skin. They found that low oxygen levels at the skin increased EPO, but not in mice in which HIF expression in the skin was knocked out. That means that HIFs in the skin are involved in hypoxia-induced EPO production.
Part of the skin’s response to low oxygen includes increased blood flow. When they applied nitroglycerine patches (which increase blood flow) to the skin of mice, EPO levels also increased.
Another substance that increases blood flow in the skin is mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate). This also increased EPO in mice. The authors note that it is common practice in Pakistan and Nepal to massage the skin of newborns with mustard oil and they speculate that this practice might increase the production of EPO and thus red blood cells in the babies. (Here’s the paper.)So the next time you smell mustard oil at the Tour de France, you will know why.
Yesterday, I wrote about how male mice respond to the smell of the urine of female mice—they sing.
The subject for today is bobcat urine and how an infection can change a mouse’s response to it.
Normally, when a mouse smells a cat (or a fox), it runs away. I mean, it makes sense, given the gustatory preferences of cats. It’s pretty Darwinian, too. Mice that run away when they smell a cat are more likely to survive than mice that hang around.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that can infect mice, cats, and humans. It’s the reason pregnant women are advised not to change their cat’s litter box. Here’s why:
The life cycle of the parasite requires that it spend some time in cats, to undergo the sexual portion of its reproductive cycle. Normally it gets into cats when cats eat an infected mouse.
This paper describes how Toxoplasma gondii makes it more likely that it will complete its life cycle. It controls the minds of mice. The investigators studied both rats and mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Control animals spent as little time as possible near bobcat urine or a collar that had been worn by a cat. Infected animals spent more time near the catty items. Not only were they not afraid of cat smells, they were attracted to them.
This wasn’t just a generalized anxiety effect, and it was specific for predator smells. Infection didn’t affect their behavior around rabbit urine or novel foods.
The parasite changes the brains of mice in such a way that the mouse is attracted to the very predator that is required for the parasite to reproduce.
Yet another reason to stay away from cat poop.
"Had it been common air, a full-grown mouse, as this was, would have lived in it about a quarter of an hour. In this air, however, my mouse lived a full hour; and though it was taken out seemingly dead, it appeared to have been only exceedingly chilled; for, upon being held to the fire, it presently revived, and appeared not to have received any harm from the experiment."
So here’s a scientific study that answers that question, although that was a small part of the study. A group of scientists the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany used mice to study the differences between humans and chimpanzees. More specifically, they looked at the effect of diet on gene expression. The paper is here.
They took four groups of genetically identical mice and fed each group a different diet.
One group got the Mouse Diet: standard mouse chow.
A second group got the Chimpanzee Diet: fruits, vegetables, and yogurt usually fed to chimpanzees at the Institute.
The third group got the Scientist Diet: the food served in the Institute’s cafeteria.
A fourth group got the Morgan Spurlock Diet: straight from McDonald’s.
The most scientifically significant result had to do with gene expression. Each human, mouse, or chimp has a genome, a set of genes with the DNA blueprint that dictates which proteins that animal will make. The thing is, not all of the genes are used all of the time in every cell. You don’t want your heart to grow a mustache, for example, or your earlobes to be made of bone. The key is to make the right proteins at the right time in the right place. That’s gene expression.
Humans and chimps and mice have different genomes, different blueprints. But they’re not really all that different. What adds to the differences between species is the way the genes are expressed. The mystery is what causes these differences in gene expression.
The researchers at the Max-Planck Institute hypothesized that diet could affect how genes are expressed. What they found was that the livers of mice fed different diets expressed the genes in their livers differently. What was really cool was that 117 genes expressed differently in mice fed the chimp diet vs. the human diets were the same genes that are expressed differently in chimpanzees vs. humans. That means that diet affects how we express genes and is part of what makes humans different from chimps.
Notice that I said “human diets.” For the most part, the Scientist Diet and the Morgan Spurlock Diet produced the same results. (I wonder what they serve at that cafeteria.)
There were two differences. One was that, although gene expression in the livers of mice fed both human diets was pretty much the same, the Scientist Diet didn’t affect gene expression in the brain. The Morgan Spurlock Diet did. Fast food changes your brain. Scary.
The other difference was that after two weeks on the Morgan Spurlock Diet, the body weights of the mice were significantly greater.
It started in a barn.
Forced to retire from her teaching job because of pernicious anemia, Abbie Lathrop made a career switch in 1900, at the age of 32. She became a purveyor of “fancy mice.”
The Victorian fad of Fancy Mice was in full swing. The mice were not particularly fancy, but they were fancied. In other words, the Victorians fancied their mice. They bred them for their beautiful or unusual appearance or behavior. (Remember The Spinning Mice?) They entered them in competitions, like Prize Poodles at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Abbie thought she would cash in on the craze, so she began breeding mice in her Granby, Massachusetts barn. Among her “Creams,” “Tans,” and “Silver Fawns,” she noticed something unusual. Some of her mice had cancer.
She struck up a collaboration with Dr. Leo Loeb, with whom she authored ten scholarly papers. Here’s a quote from one of them:
In 1907 we published some observations made on the mouse farm of Miss Lathrop, in Granby, Mass., which rendered it probable that the frequency of tumors in mice at certain places was in all probability due, not to infection, but to hereditary transmission in certain families.
The rest, as they say, is histology…
Read the paper here. All 28 pages of it.
ACCORDING to the history books, the Madeira archipelago 600 kilometres west of Africa was discovered in 1419 when Portuguese mariners were blown off-course by a storm. In Roman times Pliny and Plutarch wrote about islands that might be Madeira, but there is no definite account of the islands, nor any signs of people, prior to the arrival of the Portuguese. The mice of Madeira Island, however, tell a different and unexpected story.
The mice are not native to the island and must have arrived on European ships. Genetically, they most closely resemble the mice of Portugal. However, some of their DNA has strong similarities to that of mice found in Scandinavia - a strong hint that Viking ships found Madeira long before the Portuguese. "It might have been a temporary occupation, or just a few boats landing for a short period of time," says Jeremy Searle, an evolutionary biologist at the University of York in the UK and an author of the study (Heredity, vol 99, p 432). "But the mice are telling us something that no artefact so far has told us."