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Genetic Modification Produces Mighty Mouse

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the always-liked-danger-mouse-and-duckula-better dept.

Sci-Fi 320

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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320 comments

What Are We Doing Tonight Brain? (4, Funny)

AmIAnAi (975049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212167)

The Same thing we do every night Pinky. Try to take over the world.

Re:What Are We Doing Tonight Brain? (4, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212231)

But Brain, why the toga? No one's worn those in years. Except for that one really strange man in Lancaster-Shire.

Re:What Are We Doing Tonight Brain? (1)

Mursk (928595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212853)

Right. What makes us sure these uber-mice won't be the super villains?

Quis custodiet the mighty mice?

Re:What Are We Doing Tonight Brain? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213087)

Well, just in case the mice go off the deep end, we're developing mighty cats. And in the event that they get out of cotrol we have the mighty dogs. And we have gigantic stuffed dolls and sticks to distract the dogs long enough to get the whaling harpoons trained on them.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212175)

Welcome to our Mighty mouse overlords!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212741)

They don't want to rule us, they just need to know the question. They'll be happy with "How many roads must a man walk down."

Well, you know the next step... (5, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212181)

Someone will just have to build a better mousetrap!

Re:Well, you know the next step... (2, Funny)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212945)

Depends on the side effects and permanence of the enhancement.

P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernon's grave in the bak yard.

20 meters to minute? Awesome! (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212187)

That's a mind-boggling 0.745645431 mph!

Not the speed afaik (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212329)

I think the point isn't the speed, but the distance they can cover without stopping.

Re:20 meters to minute? Awesome! (2, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212567)

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

Layne

Re:20 meters to minute? Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212727)

That's a mind-boggling 0.745645431 mph!


Or 1.2 Km/h.

Re:20 meters to minute? Awesome! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212815)

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?

I for one (5, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212199)

hope that these rodents don't escape the lab.

Ordinary mice are hard enough to control as pests...

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212691)

Scientist are not stupid. They already got that covered with Monsanto's "terminator gene".

Re:I for one (3, Interesting)

welcher (850511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212785)

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 (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212847)

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:I for one (2, Interesting)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212929)

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 significant selective pressure against them.

Hopefully the scientists won't let them escape but if they do, natural selection should lead to them being removed from the gene pool quite quickly.

Testosterone? (1, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212211)

More aggressive? Sounds like what this actually does is produce testosterone or something equivalent, not better muscles/hearts directly.

Re:Testosterone? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212305)

The production of testosterone wouldn't surprise me given the results. However, given the complex and interconnected nature of many biological pathways, it likely creates a lot more than just testosterone.

Re:Testosterone? (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212443)

Even if it is just testosterone, the point is that it's a permanent genetic modification leading to this effect, rather than a temporary injection.

Re:Testosterone? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212745)

I never said that wasn't the case, nor said that "not just testosterone" was a mitigating factor to that case. Nor did the individual I responded to argue otherwise. Given that they are genetic modifications, I would expect the whole "permanent" thing would be fairly obvious, and go without saying.

Well, unless someone finds a gene therapy method of reversing the process.

RTFA much? (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212445)

Ten times as many mitochondria in the muscles.

Re:Testosterone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212519)

Yeah, how long before they wear out, in the same manner that humans with larger bodies still maintain the same heart size and expire more quickly...

Whatever you do... (5, Funny)

lonesome_coder (1166023) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212215)

...don't make them angry. You wouldn't like them when they are angry...

These mice... (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212571)

Nigel Tufnel: These mice all go to eleven. Look, right across the treadmill, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most mice go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's more resistant? Is it any more resistant?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one more resistant, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most scientist, you know, will be chasing tens. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your lab. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One more resistant.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten more resistant and make ten be the top number and make that a little more resistant?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

I have a mighty mouse.... (5, Funny)

NPN_Transistor (844657) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

PEPCK Apoplecticism (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212321)

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!

Re:PEPCK Apoplecticism (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212875)

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.

Re:PEPCK Apoplecticism (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213127)

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...

If they experimented on humans this much... (4, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 ;)

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (0, Offtopic)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212415)

Interesting signature. Are you sure that preventing an officer from tazering someone (even yourself) by telling a lie is not an abstraction of justice? If you want to prevent an officer from having the power to tazer innocent people why not... oh I don't know... vote for Ron Paul? :)

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212917)

I'm sure it's not an abstraction of justice... (I can't think of one except maybe 'legal stuff'?).

Might be an obstruction though.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

prelelat (201821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212527)

OR live 3 years and run 2 miles at a clip. either way it would be fun while it lasted ;)

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212583)

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?

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212683)

So we'll mandate experiments on a few people to provide a better good for the rest of humanity? So much for freedom.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

Jbcarpen (883850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212737)

Furthermore, I'm sure there are plenty of people with terminal illnesses (especially the painful ones) who would absolutely leap on the opportunity to be guinea pigs for experimental treatments. If I were dying painfully I would certainly take a chance on a 1/1,000,000 long shot chance to survive, particularly since even if it failed the scientists would then know more about the condition and have a better chance to help the next guy.

Now admittedly, the kinds of experiments being discussed here aren't disease treatments, but I'd bet that there are still people who would be willing to volunteer for human testing.

All in all, I don't think it would be unethical to perform medical experiments on consenting, well informed, volunteers.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212957)

This happens. I've been part of medical experiments.. you just sign a consent form and they give you the random stuff they're trying and you either live or die.

In the UK we had one of these go wrong and several people actually died.. but OTOH they knew what they were signing up to.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212873)

how many is few? Why limit the experiments to medicin and why exclude social engineering experiments like the red khmer did? After all "to keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss" may still be valid.

Yet as agen smith put it: it is anavoidable. Our resistance is futile.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213121)

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?

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (5, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213133)

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.

Re:If they experimented on humans this much... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212955)

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? (5, Funny)

robably (1044462) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212361)

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.

Re:Mighty? (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213065)

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 ;)

Smarter mouse? (5, Funny)

oo7tushar (311912) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212375)

All I see is the that the "slower" mouse realizes that they're going nowhere on the treadmill.

Pathetic! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212391)

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.

coming on? (1)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212395)

"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?

Re:coming on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212517)

Everyone knows that the big-name supervillains are all gay. The Joker, obviously. Magneto, Ian McKellen, duh. Lex Luthor, notice the double-Ls, jealous of Superman's girlfriend. Chairman of the RNC, hell yeah. It goes on and on.

This might overturn the old adage ... (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212417)

"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.

Watch out (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212419)

Superior abilities breed superior ambition.

Watch your cheese!

Re:Watch out (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212503)

Superior abilities breed superior ambition.
Watch your cheese!

Cue the quote:
"That's one ugly mouse .. and he's beating up on our cheese!"

Steroids make people more agressive, too. (4, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212457)

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?

This has me worried (4, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:This has me worried (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212885)

What are the military applications of these genetically engineered mice?

Re:This has me worried (2, Funny)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213071)

Simple. You can tie little packages of Freedom to their backs and drop them into the Middle East.

Of course, by "Freedom" I mean "High-Power Explosives"

Mice with friggin' lasers ? (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213073)

Mice with friggin' lasers on their foreheads ? Lasermice ? ..
Sharks were not so mobile on dry lands anyways .. they had to adapt!

Re:This has me worried (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:This has me worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21213083)

Not to worry, the GM mice will kill humans off before we have a chance to make the military application.

yikes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212641)

That means when they turn evil or zombie they wont stop chewing on you for a long time unlike standard mice.

These super mice in zombie form could completely consume your body instead of leaving a brainless corpse like regular zombie mice do.

nice redudant numbers for the lazy (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212665)

'can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping'
20 meters per minute = 1.2 km/h, so if they do it for 6 km's, that's about 5 hours
but i find the redundant data a bit stupid (not to mention the weird unit for speed, just use m/s or km/h, something we're used to seeing).

Apple will sue for copyright infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212667)

After all the "Mighty Mouse" is a trademark of Apple Computer.

Any improvement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212669)

Any improvement over Apple's Mighty Mouse would be good. I mean squeezing the sides to activate button '4'. Come on!

Coming on? (1)

giuntag (833437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212759)

Everybody knows how the story goes: after mighty mouse experiments, both Russia ans the states turn to secret experiments to build human superheroes for the army, and it ends up in WW3, the world being destroyed and a new kind of humanity in search of a new planet: The One

Rick Veitch saw this coming, twenty years ago!

@#%!@ Quicktime... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21212769)

Has apple decided that people who don't use XP/Vista/OSX are no longer important enough to need Quicktime? I tried to install quicktime on my windoze 2000 box, and encountered several problems:
  • Newest quicktime only for XP/Vista
  • Quicktime 6.5.2 is available for 2k, but doesn't run well
  • When the mouse.mov file is opened in 6.5.2 Quicktime complains that it needs a plugin, and promptly crashes


I'll get off my soapbox now and watch this get modded down to troll status.

Re:@#%!@ Quicktime... (0, Offtopic)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212961)

Has apple decided that people who don't use XP/Vista/OSX are no longer important enough to need Quicktime? I tried to install quicktime on my windoze 2000 box, and encountered several problems:
  • Newest quicktime only for XP/Vista
  • Quicktime 6.5.2 is available for 2k, but doesn't run well
  • When the mouse.mov file is opened in 6.5.2 Quicktime complains that it needs a plugin, and promptly crashes


I'll get off my soapbox now and watch this get modded down to troll status.
Wow... Maybe you should use an OS that's better supported, like Linux. The .mov file opened up great in Firefox and Totem on my Gentoo box.

Re:@#%!@ Quicktime... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21213019)

The .mov file opened up great in Firefox and Totem on my Gentoo box.

that's great if that's all you want to run. what you won't be able to run is any real apps.

that would suck (1)

Elsapotk421 (1097205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212787)

I was on the pursuit of this mouse that lived in my place for about 4 months up until I finally killed it by dropping something on it....luckily nothing splattered. that thing was a pain in the ass to get rid of. it wouldn't fall for mouse traps so I actually had to hunt it.

Spidey sense? (3, Informative)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | more than 6 years ago | (#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....

They need to create "Bunny" version (4, Funny)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212923)

The Energizer battery company would pay big $ for such a LIVING mascot.
With all that $, they'll be able to fund future research...

The Shrimp? (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21212965)

Did anyone else think of that shrimp video where it's running on the treadmill to the Yakety Sax music?

It's a CYA (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213135)

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.

O_o (1)

Algen (1173745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21213155)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of mighty mice with lasers on their heads ..Btw anybody know how many dpi these mice are ?
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