Jumbo rats studied for obesity cure
July 1, 1997
Web posted at: 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT)
HYDERABAD, India (CNN) -- Rats more than four times their
standard weight could prove key in developing cures for
obesity and diabetes, according to Indian scientists who
helped develop the oversized animals.
Scientists at the National Institute of Nutrition in India
told reporters Sunday they had developed an indigenous breed
of rats believed to be the biggest in the world.
The animals weigh up to 3 pounds; a typical rat weighs just
over half a pound.
The specially bred animals gain 5
grams, or .17 ounces, of body weight per day from birth,
eventually becoming too fat to even stand up. They spend
most of their time lying on their backs.
Nappan Veettil Giridharan of the institute's laboratory said
the overweight rats are being sought by bio-medical
researchers for use as models to develop cures for obesity
and diabetes, conditions that afflict millions worldwide.
"It would help understand what causes obesity in mammal life
forms," Giridharan said.
The obese rats were developed from mutants created from the
in-breeding of rats raised by the institute for
the last 75 years.
The institute maintains some 400 of the fat rats,
but further breeding has been stopped because the laboratory
has run out of space.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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