Animal models are a well established research tool and mice have been used to investigate human disease for decades. Not only do they share some of man’s basic physiology but mice can also display some quite complex behaviours. They can run mazes and press levers, solve simple problems and drive teeny tiny cars. But doctors, continually baffled by the harmful behaviours displayed by some of their patients were in need of a more robust model.
‘Meet Brian,’ says Professor Candid who headed up the research. ‘After months of trial and error we finally found a way to splice human DNA into the mouse’s genome.’
‘Not only will Brian make his way through a maze to the feeding bucket, but he’ll eat everything he can get his greasy little paws on and then say, “I don’t know why I’m so big, I hardly ever eat!”. He lies about his blood glucose and has begun to hoard his medication in a Tesco’s bag. For some strange reason he’s even begun to speak in a Glaswegian accent and now engages in so many harmful activities that we’ve lost count. Only this morning he asked me if I could get him a tenner bag of smack. What is smack by the way? As we speak he’s lying on the sofa heckling an episode of Jeremy Kyle stuffing his little cheeks with Rolos and has ordered in a job lot of mouse-porn.’
Brian is the first mouse in the world that can accurately reproduce human behaviour under experimental conditions.
‘He represents a major leap forward for scientific research,’ says the professor, ‘and will revolutionise the way in which future generations of doctors approach and tackle these problems.’
Sadly, funding for the project has run dry and Brian’s future looks uncertain. Not content to sit still, he plans to marry and open up his own catering business in Malaga, which when you think about it is quite impressive for a mouse.