Lab creates 'long-distance mouse'
A genetically modified "supermouse" which can run twice as far as a normal rodent has been created by scientists working in the US.
It also lives longer, and breeds later in life compared with its standard laboratory cousin.
The research has been conducted at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Details of the scientists' new transgenic animals are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The mice were produced to study the biochemistry at play in metabolism and could aid the understanding of human health and disease.
The GM rodents can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping.
"They are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilise mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid," said Professor Richard Hanson, the senior author on the journal article.
The scientists found their new mice would eat twice as much as normal mice - but weigh half as much. They could also give birth at three years old - which in human terms is akin to an 80-year-old woman giving birth.