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Photo Credit: James Gathany from Public Health Image Library
Photo Credit: James Gathany from Public Health Image Library

Scientists Alter Genes to Create ‘Super Mice’, Less Scared of Cat

A new study by British and Canadian scientists has shown that it is, indeed, possible as they created a “super clever mice” that is less scared of a cat, less anxious, more memory and is less likely to remember horrific events, in short, clever.


Photo Credit: Rasbak

The research team modified a gene in mice in an attempt to impede the action of an enzyme known as “phosphodiesterase-4B” (PDE4B), found in several organs found in a vertebrate body. The research team modified this particular enzyme found in several organs of the vertebrate body, even the brain.

In turn, the mice who underwent constrain of PDE4B indicated elevated cognitive capabilities. It means, the controlled mice indicated better capability to identify another mouse that it met just a day before, and in another test known as the “Morris water maze” they were rapider also to discover the site of the coveted escape than ordinary mice.

Nonetheless, in comparison with the ordinary mice, the PDE4B constrained mice indicated less recollection of a horrific circumstance after the completion of some days.

These mice also showed decreased possibility of anxiety as they displayed interest in spending increased time in the wide open, radiantly lit areas as compared to ordinary mice that favored dark and encircled places.

When introduced to cat urine, unlike ordinary mice, which are known to be frightened of them PDE4B constrained mice were less scared of cats, proposing elevation of taking risks as a possible effect of PDE4B impede on behavior.

The scientists believe that the capability to solve complex exercise better and decreased levels of anxiety in PDE4B-constrained mice could turn out to be counterproductive for a wild mouse.

The research throws light on the foundation of new-age treatments for cognitive disorders associated with age, or Alzheimer’s disease or any other cognitive condition.

Although the outcomes are confined only on mice and are yet to be examined on human beings, PDE4B is present in human beings as well. Therefore, the decrease of fear in PDE4B-constrained mice could be a key for scientists to establish treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Steve Clapcote who is a lecturer in University of Leeds’ and headed the study said that “cognitive impairments are currently poorly treated” thereby their discovery could serve to be a possible new treatment in the future utilizing PDE4B.

The research team is now working to create drugs, particularly having the capability to impede PDE4B and after evaluating these drugs on animals successfully they will be available for clinical trials on human beings.

The study has been published in the journal “Neuropsychopharmacology”.

According to the Helpguide.org, wars, rapes, kidnappings, fatal death of a loved one, physical abuse, etc are causes of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and includes upsetting memories, nightmares, physical distress like accelerated heartbeats when reminded of the trauma.

As far as Glaucoma is concerned, Glaucoma Research Foundation reported that out of more than 3 million Americans who were diagnosed with glaucoma only half were aware of it. Apart from this, over 120,000 individuals in the U.S have lost their eye-sight to glaucoma.

Anxiety on the other hand consumes a lot of America’s money. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 percent of the country’s population is affected by anxiety disorder – the most ordinary mental condition.

As per the “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders” – a study directed by the journal ADAA; anxiety uses up 42 billion dollars annually of the total 148 billion dollars mental bill of America.

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