If all mice look alike to you, it's probably because you're not a mouse (if you are, I'm surprised you are reading this blog). But how do mice recognize each other? It appears the lady tells the gent to piss off:
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that mice rely on a special set of proteins to recognise each other.
Previous study assumed that another set of genes that influence smell in vertebrates might be used by animals that identify each other through scent. The team found, however, that mice use a highly specialised set of proteins in their urine to recognise different individuals, suggesting that this may also be true of other animals. (Eurekalert)
The long held view was that different odors associated with major histocompatibility (MHC) genes were the key to recognition. MHC gene combos, like fingerprints or iris patterns, are unique to individuals. The idea that MHC-modulated scents would be the mechanism was a natural one. But just as we don't recognize each other through our fingerprints, it appears that female mice don't use MHC odors. Instead they recognize a set of major urinary proteins unique to each male. Without the urine scent, female mice can't distinguish dominant from non-dominant male mice with different MCH odors. How do they know which male is dominant?
The key to a dominant male is the freshness of his urine scent mark, so the technique females use to select the best mate is pretty low tech. Dominant male mice exclude their rivals from the territory where the female mouse hangs out so they have the freshest scent.
Simpler than I would have thought.
Source: Cheetham, S.A., Thom, M.D., Jury, F., Ollier, W.E.R., Beynon, R.J. & Hurst, J. L. (2007); The genetic basis of individual recognition signals in the mouse. Current Biology 17: 1771-1777.
A friend of mine who works with mice says that her mice won't breed if their cages are too clean. I wonder if this is in any way related?
Every day 4 million rats are born. Ten for every human. They are known to carry nearly 70 diseases. Rats carry cholera, typhus, bubonic palgue, and leptosirosis, a bacterial illness spread by their urine contaminating water or food.
So you see rat urine can kill you.
Through negligence or lack of time, those investigating bird flu have failed to investigate if rats are a vector for bird flu. Are you not tired of all the reports from Indonesia, where the writer states the bird flu victim that died lived near a location where chickens have died. No matter how stupid the explanation, they create the illusion that all bird flu victims contacted the disease from birds. Is this to protect their turist industry by their lies? And will their lies produce more human bird flu deaths? Will the lies cause a pandemic?
At times they even admit the person had absolutely no contact with birds, but somehow contacted bird flu. There is as I write a new 5 person cluster of human bird flu infection in Indonesia. Many clusters involve h2h, human to human contact. WHO has recently acknowledged this.
Since rats carry almost 70 diseases, what is to stop them from carrying bird flu? Cats eat rats, and cats are known to have been infected with bird flu. How many rats are there in Indonesia and China?
It is sad the rat vector for bird flu is not investigated. Humans are capable of creating lies, to hide disease, in order to make money. This capacity can kill. This happens often in the case of bird flu.
If bird flu becomes a pandemic and kills you and me, we can thank those who lied for our death.