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Devil's Lapdog Gets Its Due: The lab rat bares its DNA to biologists

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11:27am, March 31, 2004

Overshadowed in scientific circles for the past few decades by its smallish cousin the mouse, the rat is back in the limelight. This week, biologists announced that they have deciphered the full DNA sequence of the standard lab rat, setting the stage for a new flurry of biomedical research on this rodent and providing insight into mammalian evolution.

People and rats have a long history together, not all of it happy. The Chinese made the animal the first sign of their zodiac, but others have called it the devil's lapdog and blamed it for spreading the plague.

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