Tuesday, 15 May 2012


David Cao

As the title suggests, there is a Mighty Mouse but there isn’t just one, there is a bunch of them. The team of researchers at EPFL, the University of Lausanne and the Salk Institute have created this new breed of “Super Mice”. What makes these mice special is that they can run faster, further with much denser muscles. (Yamamoto et al. 2011)
How did they create these genetically modified mice, instead of the traditional method of accelerating the development of certain cell groups.  They suppressed a certain protein, that protein is Nuclear Receptor Co-repressor 1 or NCoR 1 for short. The NCoR 1 is responsible for managing energy consumption to prevent starvation in the cell, though the NCoR 1 is suppressed the food intake of the mice did not significantly change. What does it change? When inhibited in muscle cells, the muscle fibers were much denser, there were also high numbers of mitochondria (the cell’s power and energy producers).  Not only that with these new muscles, they could outrun faster and further than their unmodified counterparts. The team of researchers also suppressed NCoR 1 in fat cells, it caused the mice to become obese but the mice themselves did not develop diabetes or any other weight related diseases (Li et al 2011).
Incredible! Not only do these mice have significantly more muscle mass, muscle density, exercise endurance but also resistant to weight related diseases. What could possibly happen if this was applied to humans? Every single person could have super human strength and endurance. Johan Auwerx (one of the researchers) believe this will further lead the research in the treatment of diabetes but also help those especially the elderly with muscle ailments (BW 2011). With these positives, there will be individuals who will abuse this. Predominately, the athletes will use this to get a competitive edge, and the military sector to possibly create ‘super soldiers’ that out muscle and last possible enemies.  But really, the medical studies will greatly benefit with this discovery.

These “Super Mice” treated with their NCoR 1 suppressed increased muscle mass and density, improved endurance, greater cold tolerance and resistance to weight related diseases. This would greatly aid to humans especially with the research of the treatment of diabetes and genetic muscular dystrophy.

Yamamoto, H, Williams, E, Mouchiroud, L, Canto, C, Fan, W, Downes, M, Heligon, C, Barish, G, Desvergne, B, Evans, R, Schoonjans, K and Auwerx, J 2011, NCoR1 is a conserved physiological modulator of muscle mass and oxidative function, Lausanne, Switzerland
Li, P, Fan, W, Xu, J, Lu, M, Yamamoto, H, Auwerx, J, Sears,D, Talukdar, S, Oh, D, Chen, A, Bandyopadhysy, G, Scadeng,M, Ofrecio, J, Nalbandian, S, and Olefsky, J 2011, Adipocyte NCoR knockout decreases PPAR Phosphorylation and enhances PPAR activity and insulin sensitivity, Lausanne, Switerland
BW 2011, Tweaking a gene makes muscles twice as strong, viewed 16 March 2012, <http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/11/tweaking-gene-makes-muscles-twice-as.html>

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