Rodents at a Glance

Rodents, like mice and rats, are popular models for biomedical research due to their anatomical, physiological and genetic similarities to humans. Some advantages for using rodents include ease of maintenance, their small size, and short life cycles that enable researchers to study the full course of diseases and therapies.

Another plus is that mice and rats offer an abundance of genetic resources.  Mice share almost 95% of their genes with humans. Their genome is well known and able to be manipulated so that models of specific human disease may be studied.

Because of these characteristics, mice continue to play a vital part in the discovery and development of treatments and cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many infectious diseases.

Other rodents needed for research include hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.

Did you Know?

Rats have been invaluable to cardiovascular medicine, neural regeneration, wound healing, diabetes and transplantation.

Guinea pig studies lead to the discovery of Vitamin C, the tuberculosis bacterium and adrenaline.

A Shrew must eat 80-90 % of their own body weight in food daily.

Studies needing mice were awarded 30 Nobel prizes.

Shrews are easily startled and will jump, faint, or drop dead at a sudden noise.

Guinea pigs have contributed to 23 Nobel prizes for medicine.

30 Nobel Prizes needed rats for the awarded contribution to science.

A rat can fall as far as 50 feet and land unharmed.

About 10% of rat genes are shared in mice but absent in humans.

  • Mouse

    Mice are the foundation for numerous advances in medicine, including therapies for cancer, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic and hormonal disorders, diabetes, obesity,… Read More ›

  • Rat

    Rats have long been a valuable model in research to answer many questions about physiology, immunology, pharmacology, toxicology, nutrition, behavior, and learning.… Read More ›

  • Hamster

    Hamsters are important in many research areas, including cancer, reproduction, virology, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Hamsters and humans metabolize fats and sugars… Read More ›

  • Guinea Pig

    Because guinea pigs are similar to humans in the symptoms and immune response they have to bacterial infections, they have been studied… Read More ›

  • Chinchilla

    Chinchillas share anatomical and physiological similarities of the inner and middle ears of humans which make the chinchilla an ideal animal model for understanding and treating auditory issues. Read More ›

  • Japanese shrew

    The Japanese Shrew is an important model for Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), a disorder that affects a person’s ability to digest certain… Read More ›