Researchers at the Human Brain Project are developing a virtual mouse that could be used in virtual animal experiments, sparing suffering to real mice.
Lab mice are a crucial component of biological and medical research. While the use and testing of lab mice is strictly monitored and regulated, the unfortunate fact is that it is presently impossible to learn more about diseases and discover cures for them without causing harm to lab mice.
The scientists' virtual mouse is an exact computer model of the real thing, and features a 200,000 neuron-strong mapped brain. The virtual mouse is far from fully developed, but researchers are working on incorporating more data into it to make it richly layered and as realistic as possible.
Seeing as how lab mouse research is far too important to abandon altogether, this development may not ever eradicate the use of lab animals completely but can certainly help reduce dependence on them.
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