Your tax dollars at work for you: Engineering mice that stutter

Your tax dollars at work for you: Engineering mice that stutter
(Image via UK Independent)

[Ed. – Q. Why did you spend $82K on engineering mice that stutter?  A.  Because we could.  Hey, at least this experiment had measurable criteria for accomplishment.  I mean, apparently you can tell if a mouse is stuttering.]

A $16.5 million project examining genetic mutations that may lead to human stuttering recently released some of its findings: genetically-engineered mice that sound different.

The portion of the study dedicated to developing the mice that model human stuttering in the study represent less than 0.5 percent of the costs of the research to date, according to the NIH—an estimated $82,822.31.

“You might not expect mice to tell us much about human speech disorders,” the agency said in awrite-up of the study last week. “But, in fact, a new study from researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) shows that mice could teach us a lot about what makes people stutter, and perhaps also how to help them stop.”

The results, published in Current Biology, found that mice that were genetically engineered to carry a trait linked to human stuttering showed “changes in the pattern of their calls.”

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