Scientists have been astounded by the creation of a genetically modified “supermouse” with extraordinary physical abilities â€“ comparable to the performance of the very best athletes â€“ raising the prospect that the discovery may one day be used to transform people’s capacities.
The mouse can run up to six kilometres (3.7 miles) at a speed of 20 metres per minute for five hours or more without stopping. Scientists said that this was equivalent of a man cycling at speed up an Alpine mountain without a break. Although it eats up to 60 per cent more food than an ordinary mouse, the modified mouse does not put on weight. It also lives longer and enjoys an active sex life well into old age â€“ being capable of breeding at three times the normal maximum age.
American scientists who created the mice â€“ they now have a breeding colony of 500 â€“ said that they were stunned by their abilities, especially given that the animals came about as a result of a standard genetic modification to a single metabolism gene shared with humans.