The laboratory mouse has emerged as the preferred model system for biomedical research. Despite the small size of the mouse, many researchers have turned to mouse models for studying many physiologic processes due to recent advances in science and technology. An important milestone is the completion of the sequencing of both the mouse and human genomes. This has resulted in a number of genetic and physical maps of the mouse genome being published that demonstrated a great deal of synteny between the two species. Scientists studying a specific gene or genes associated with a disease phenotype in a murine model may now be able to identify a corresponding human gene producing a similar disease entity. The emergence of molecular techniques to produce gene mutations in mice has opened nearly unlimited possibilities for studying the physiologic and pathophysiologic role of almost any functional or regulatory protein in the intact animal. By manipulation of the mouse genome, it is now possible to generate animal models for studying the consequences of altered gene expression of different proteins for normal physiology and pathophysiology of nearly every organ system. This chapter provides a brief overview of current and emerging information on the physiology of the mouse and identifies key references where specific information is located. The chapter focuses on the feasibility and limitations of methods used to study mouse organ physiology emphasizing the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and renal systems.
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