Minute to Understanding: What is a mouse model?


What is a mouse model?

The ability to model human disease in the mouse makes it such a valuable experimental system. Genetically and genomically, the human and the mouse are very similar.

Is a mouse model just a very stylish looking mouse?

No, no, no — it’s not a mouse walking down the runway at Fashion Week!

In architecture, a “model” is a representation of a building.  In mice, a “model” is a representation of a human disease or syndrome.

Mice share more than 95% of our DNA — and this means that we’re both affected by disease in surprisingly similar ways.

By studying mice that have symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or cancer, we can learn a lot more about how these diseases might be treated in patients.

The quest for the best mouse model — or best “representation” — of a disease is always ongoing. The closer we are to accurately modeling genetic diseases in the mouse, the closer we are to discovering cures in the clinic.

For more bite-size science to help you keep up with the latest breakthroughs, check out more Minute to Understanding videos here!