Ancient Gene Takes Grooming in Hand

7:19am, January 10, 2002

All sorts of animals groom themselves regularly, which keeps them clean and healthy. However, mice with an alteration in one of the genes that orchestrate body development lose their grip on grooming, a new study finds.

These mice bite and lick themselves so hard and so often that they end up with bald patches and open sores, according to Joy M. Greer and Mario R. Capecchi, both geneticists at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Moreover, the same genetically altered rodents groom cage mates just as aggressively.

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