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What you need to know when Video Tracking Rats in Morris Water Maze

There are several thousand different strains of knockout mice. Typically mouse models are named after the gene that has been inactivated. In contrast there are far fewer rats so we've put together this quick guide focused on video tracking of the rodents.

Wistar Rat

Color: White

The Wistar rat is currently one of the most popular rat strains used for laboratory research and is highly active. It is characterized by its wide head, long ears, and having a tail length that is always less than its body length. The Sprague Dawley rat and Long-Evans rat strains were developed from Wistar rats. Wistar rats are more active than other strains like Sprague Dawley rats.The Spontaneously hypertensive rat and the Lewis rat are other well-known strains developed from Wistar rats.

Wistar rats are an outbred strain of albino rats belonging to the species Rattus norvegicus. This strain was developed at the Wistar Institute in 1906 for use in biological and medical research, and is notably the first rat strain developed to serve as a model organism at a time when laboratories primarily used common house mice (Mus musculus). More than half of all laboratory rat strains are descended from the original colony established by physiologist Henry Donaldson, scientific administrator Milton J. Greenman, and genetic researcher/embryologist Helen Dean King

The Lewis Rat

Color: White

Developed from the Wistar by  Lewis in the early 1950s. The strain's characteristics include albino coloring, and a docile behavior. Typically used in transplantation research, induced arthritis/inflammation, experimental allergic encephalitis, and STZ-induced diabetes.

The Sprague Dawley rat

Color: White

An outbred multipurpose breed of long tailed albino rat from the Sprague Dawley Animal Company in Madison, Wisconsin originating in 1925. The strain's main advantage is its calmness and ease of handling.

Biobreeding Rat

Color: White

Biobreeding Diabetes Prone (or BBDP rat) rat is an inbred rat strain that spontaneously develops autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes. Like NOD mice, BB rats are used as an animal model for Type 1 diabetes. The strain re-capitulates many of the features of human type 1 diabetes, and has contributed greatly to the research of T1DM pathogenesis.

The Long-Evans Rat

Color: White with black hood; occasionally white with brown hood ( black are best for video tracking)

Long-Evans rats are an outbred strain of rats belonging to the species Rattus norvegicus. This strain was developed by Drs. Long and Evans in 1915 by crossing several Wistar females with a wild gray male. Long Evans rats are white with a black hood, or occasionally white with a brown hood. They are utilized as a multipurpose model organism, frequently in behavioral and obesity research.

The Zucker Rat

Color: Dark Hooded Zucker rats are good for video tracking

Zucker rats were bred to be a genetic model for research on obesity and hypertension. They are named after Lois M. Zucker and Theodore F. Zucker, pioneer researchers in the study of the genetics of obesity. There are two types of Zucker rat: a lean Zucker rat, denoted as the dominant trait (Fa/Fa) or (Fa/fa); and the characteristically obese (or fatty) Zucker rat, which is actually a recessive trait (fa/fa) of the leptin receptor, capable of weighing up to 1 kilogram (2.2 lb)—more than twice the average weight.[17][18][19]
Obese Zucker rats have high levels of lipids and cholesterol in their bloodstream, are resistant to insulin without being hyperglycemic, and gain weight from an increase in both the size and number of fat cells.[20] Obesity in Zucker rats is primarily linked to their hyperphagic nature, and excessive hunger; however, food intake does not fully explain the hyperlipidemia or overall body composition.[18][20]

Hairless rats

Hairless lab rats provide researchers with valuable data regarding compromised immune systems and genetic kidney diseases. It is estimated that there are over twenty-five genes that cause recessive hairlessness in laboratory rats.[21] The more common ones are denoted as rnu (Rowett nude), fz (fuzzy), and shn (shorn).
Rowett nudes, first identified in 1953 in Scotland, have no thymus. The lack of this organ severely compromises their immune system, infections of the respiratory tract and eye increasing the most dramatically.[22]
Fuzzy rats were identified in 1976 in a Pennsylvanian lab. The leading cause of death among fz/fz rats is ultimately a progressive kidney failure that begins around the age of one.[23]
Shorn rats were bred from Sprague Dawley rats in Connecticut in 1998.[24] They also suffer from severe kidney problems.

The RCS rats

Color: White

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat is the first known animal with inherited retinal degeneration. Although the genetic defect was not known for many years, it was identified in the year 2000 to be a mutation in the gene Mertk. This mutation results in defective retinal pigment epithelium phagocytosis of photoreceptor outer segments.[25]

Shaking Rat Kawasaki

Color: White

Shaking rat Kawasaki (SRK) is an autosomal recessive mutant rat that has a short deletion in the RELN gene and was first described in 1988. This results in the lowered expression of Reelin protein, essential for proper cortex lamination and cerebellum development. Its phenotype is similar to the reeler mouse.

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