November 6, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Mighty Mouse Has Arrived

Geneticists at Case Western Reserve University have genetically engineered mice that “can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping,” according to a report on the BBC News.
    Professor Richard Hanson explained, “They are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilise mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid.”  They also live longer and mate later than usual.  The secret is in the powerhouses of the cell, which were made to multiply by overexpressing a certain gene:

“The muscles of these mice have many more mitochondria.  These are the little ‘engines ’ in the cell that produce energy.  For some reason, the number of mitochondria are around 10 times more than we see in the muscle of their littermates.

    If this technology ever spreads to humans, the Olympics will never be the same.

Olympics of the future will be won by those with the best genetic engineers, it appears.  If this kind of performance is possible, what might this suggest about ancient people?  Tales survive of mighty deeds done by people who lived for hundreds of years and had their firstborn in their 80’s and after.  Maybe we are the 96-pound weaklings of the human race.  Let’s hope they can put this stuff into a diet cola or milkshake.

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Categories: Genetics, Mammals

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