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May 1996

Less Than Human, More Than Human: The Use of Mouse Models in Dermatologic Research

Author Affiliations

Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tenn

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(5):508-510. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890290038005

Funny looking mice, but not funny looking kids, have long been prized for their unique or distinctive features because much that we might wish to know concerning unique humans is increasingly discernible through studies involving unique mice.1-10 Some of the earliest observations of genetic differences and mutations within mouse colonies were indeed detected and described in terms of differences in the murine integument, such as differences in hair color, texture, or other changes in fur or vibrissae.1 Beginning with these simple visual tools, much has been learned about mammalian chromosomal organization. From such humble beginnings, manipulation of the mouse genome has now reached the point that the 1990s have been labeled the (biomedical) "decade of the mouse." What advances have led to such opinions? Why should scientists, clinicians, and the lay public be interested in mouse biology and genetics? Why are inbred mice particularly useful in the study of human genetic diseases in general, and of human skin diseases in particular?

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