Scientist warns of new breed of European ‘super-mice’ resistant to poisons

August 10, 2011GERMANY – Scientists say that some European house mice have developed resistance to the strongest poisons. German and Spanish mice have rapidly evolved the trait by breeding with an Algerian species from which they have been separate for over a million years. The researchers say this type of gene transfer is highly unusual and normally found in plants and bacteria. The Current Biology report says this process could yield mice resistant to almost any form of pest control. Warfarin is a drug widely used in medicine as an anti-coagulant to prevent the build-up of harmful blood clots. It works through inhibiting a protein called VKORC1. This protein turns on our ability to produce vitamin K, which is essential for clotting. Too much warfarin can cause fatal bleeding, and it was this quality that led to its introduction as a pesticide against rats and mice in the 1950s. But the creatures have been slowly evolving traits to survive warfarin, and pockets of resistant rodents have been found in many different parts of the world. Now scientists say that German and Spanish mice have found a rapid method of overcoming the threat by cross breeding with Algerian mice that are, according to the researchers, an entirely different species. Professor Michael Kohn from Rice University in Houston, Texas, led the team of researchers who carried out the work. “Our study is so special because it involves hybridization between two species of mouse that are 1.5-3 million years removed from each other. “Most of the offspring… do not reproduce, they are sterile – but there is a small window, which remains open for genes to be moved from one species to the other, and that’s through a few fertile females – so there is a chance to leak genes from one species to another.” Thanks to these few fertile females, the vast majority of mice in Spain and a growing number in Germany have acquired resistance over a very short period of time, although scientists aren’t exactly sure when the first genetic exchanges took place. And while they may not look any different to regular household mice, in their genetic code they now have the ability to survive the strongest chemicals in the pest control armoury. –BBC
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7 Responses to Scientist warns of new breed of European ‘super-mice’ resistant to poisons

  1. Georgi says:

    Still those mice are not resistant to cats.

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    • I suggest Maine Coon Cats.. loveable, and great hunters.. also have bonding personalities like Dogs.. without the bark, bark, bark. Mice are dangerous in the Southwest up to Colorado and Wyoming because of Hanta Virus and they will eat up your Grain storage. My cats are very busy these days!

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  2. Cats and other animals know to hunt for mouses are in danger now. Mice can accumulate large amount of poison in flesh which may be harmful for other animals.

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  3. Daisy says:

    Cats to the rescue! Back in the “Middle Ages”, Europeans murdered cats and were stricken with the “Black Plague”. Check this out. http://www.suite101/content/cats-and-the-black-plague-a58146

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  4. Daisy says:

    Cats really could help the situation. If the first link doesn’t work, try this one.
    http://www.suite101/content/cats-and-the-black-plague-a58146

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  5. Patty says:

    Cats and cleanliness. All food stuff in tin, aluminim, or heavy plastic. My male cat must have sensed the poison-protected mice breeds a-coming, so he’s now bringing in all the other cats he can every morning for breakfast while I have my coffee…..I’m certainly gonna have a meeting with them about da mice!!!!!!

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