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Mouse Models of Addiction

August 19, 2016

New strains of lab mice are helping scientists understand complex disorders.



New mouse models for studying addiction. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Drug addiction and other behavioral disorders are incredibly complex and strongly influenced by genetic factors. Behavioral geneticist Elissa Chesler at Jackson Laboratories says new strains of lab mice with a high level of genetic diversity are providing answers.

ELISSA CHESLER (Jackson Laboratories):

The mouse genetics is proving to be a valuable tool in revealing the biology of behavior and disease down to interesting mechanisms that we can then extrapolate by characterizing how they vary, why they vary and how they influence disease in humans.


With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Chesler and her colleagues are evaluating the new strains of mice, looking for traits like reward-seeking and impulsivity. They’ll then correlate those traits with the mouse genomes to see what genetic factors and mechanisms lead to disease. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.