super mouse

Earlier in the week I watched 28 Weeks Later, which is the sequel to 28 Days Later. The original story in 28 Days Later is about a genetic experiment gone wrong. A group of animal rights activists break into a research facility to liberate the monkeys who are being subjected to animal testing. The scientist on duty begs them not to release an infected monkey, but they do anyway. Shit happens. 28 Days later all of the UK is destroyed. The blood from the test monkey turns people into extremely violent man eating killers.

OK. So that sounds like some far-fetched sci-fi stuff. Perhaps it’s not as implausible as it sounds.

Scientists at the Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland in Ohio have released their study of the super mouse they created 4 years ago. The super mouse has extraordinary physical abilities. It can run up 3.7 miles at a speed of 20 meters per minute for five hours or more without stopping, which according to the scientists is equivalent to a man cycling at speed up an alpine mountain without a break.

The super mouse eats up to 60 percent more food than an ordinary mouse, but does not put on weight. It also live longer and enjoys an active sex life (I think they threw this last bit in so men won’t be afraid they’ll become impotent if and when they start injecting this stuff into people). There are now 500 of these super mice.

What’s the connection with 28 Days Later?

Well here’s the kicker: Professor Richard Hanson said that these mice “are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees. They utilize mainly fatty acids and produce very little lactic acid. They are not eating or drinking and yet they can run for four or five hours. They are 10 times more active than ordinary mice, and they live longer. in short, they are remarkable animals.”

And the downside?

According to Professor Hanson, “They are very aggressive. Why this is the case, we are not really sure.” Professor Hanson swears they have no intention to try this experiment on humans. That would be unethical he says. However, he does intent to release the findings over to pharmaceutical companies who might want to develop drugs (like we need another drug) that enhances muscle performance. And yes, he admits, it is possible for athletes to misuse any future drug developed in this way.

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