Rattus norvegicus

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Rattus norvegicus is a brown lab rat also known as the Norway rat.

They are a commonly used model organism for studying different processes in humans, as they can mimic human diseases pretty well[1].

It is also the first mammalian species that was utilised for scientific research, hence is the most extensively used model animal in research.

It is a convenient model organism due to its smaller size, rapid life cycle, similarity to humans and they are relatively affordable. There are also a large number of mutants available and you can even manipulate the genome.

They have been used for a vast array of research including ageing, addiction, cancer, genomics, cardiovascular diseases and many more[2].

The first known research done in Rattus norvegicus was in America in 1908 by Elmer McCollun Day[3], they originally used them for trials for basic nutrition. A further experiment took place the determine protein digestion by Thomas Burr Osbourne. 


  1. DNA Learning Centre. Rat (Rattus norvegicus). [Cited 22/10/2018]. Available from: https://www.dnalc.org/view/1717-Rat-Rattus-norvegicus-.html
  2. Genome Research. Functional Genomics and Rat Models. [Cited 22/10/18]; Available at: https://genome.cshlp.org/content/9/11/1013.full.html
  3. Day, Harry G. (1974). "Elmer Verner McCollum". Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). 45: 291. PMID 11615648
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