Having cured cancer and other serious ailments, a team of Japanese scientists from the University of Osaka turned to the next most vexing scientific problem facing the world today, the lack of singing mice, and licked that problem too. No seriously. Singing mouse.
A team of researchers at the University of Osaka created the animal in their "Evolved Mouse Project", in which they use genetically modified mice that are prone to miscopying DNA and thus to mutations.
"Mutations are the driving force of evolution. We have cross-bred the genetically modified mice for generations to see what would happen," lead researcher Arikuni Uchimura told AFP.
"We checked the newly born mice one by one... One day we found a mouse that was singing like a bird," he said, noting that the "singing mouse" was born by chance but that the trait will be passed on to future generations.
"I was surprised because I had been expecting mice that are different in physical shape," he said by telephone, adding that in fact the project had also produced "a mouse with short limbs and a tail like a dachshund".
Disney, understandably, should be worried:
Uchimura dreams of further "evolution" of mice through genetic engineering.
"I know it's a long shot and people would say it's 'too absurd'... but I'm doing this with hopes of making a Mickey Mouse some day," he said.