Because of its genetic, immunological, physiological and pathological similarities with humans, the mouse serves as a key model to study many great diseases, and facilitates the understanding of the function of several genes. As of today, the mouse is the leading model organism in both basic and applied research. Its high reproductive capacity and excellent knowledge for its maintenance in breeding facilitate its handling. Moreover, obtening very stable lines and modify them genetically is easy: by mutagenesis, additional transgenesis, homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells or targeted recombination in vivo.
Many tools are available to monitor gene expression, affect genes spatially and temporally, and characterize cell populations in or ex vivo. Major international programmes aim to generate one mutant per gene in the mouse genome.
Breeding season : all year round
Sexual maturity: 6 to 8 weeks
Number of litters per year: 4 to 8
Gestation period: 18 to 21 days
Number of pups per litter: usually between 5 and 12 pups.
Weaning age: 4 weeks