Knockout Rats have Arrived
Scientists have created a knockout rat that finally opens the model organism to the kinds of experiments that have only been possible in mice and some non-mammalian species, they reported online earlier this month (August 11) in Nature.
The rat was created using embryonic stem cell culture techniques allowing genes to be swapped out on demand giving investigators full control over the type of mutation they want to make.
The new technology adds another species to scientists’ cache of knockout models enabling them to perform experiments in rats which previously could have only been done in mice. So for any vascular biologists out there who have had to cannulate mouse mesenteric arteries (talk about trying to thread a needle…) the ability to use rats (which have a much bigger inner mesenteric artery diameter) instead of mice will be a welcome treat!
Read more: Knockout rats have arrived – The Scientist – Magazine of the Life Sciences
For a primer on stem cell technology, see Bio-Rad’s guide:Stem Cell Basics for Life Science Researchers.