Medicine: Mighty Mice

To study AIDS, scientists give rodents a touch of humanity

They may not look as strange as a Minotaur or a mermaid, but some of the mice used in today's research labs are every bit as wondrous as those mythical combinations of animals and humans. In 1988 two California immunologists announced that they had transplanted human immune-system tissues and cells into mice, causing the rodents to manufacture human antibodies and certain types of white blood cells. Since that pioneering effort, "humanized" mice have become invaluable research tools, particularly in the fight against AIDS and other viral diseases.

New experiments indicate that tissues from many different human organs can be put into...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!