Is The Prairie Vole a Good Model Species?

Doctor Larry Young describes the prairie vole as an excellent model species because it forms social bonds similar to humans.

I believe that the prairie vole is a wonderful model species because it is one of the few animals that has a constellation of social behaviors which is remarkably similar to our own. It’s very different from the mouse or the rat or other model species that have traditionally been used. Mice and rats don’t form social bonds, so you can’t study social bonds in those. I really believe that this species which is relatively new to science is going to become a more and more important model, eventually having it’s genome sequenced and developing more tools so that we can do even more sophisticated things. I’m really committed to making this model become as useful as the mouse. For example, we are able to do genetic manipulations in voles just like we do in mice. I really think that there’s no limitations to what we can do with the prairie voles. I think that the diversity and behavior that we see in prairie voles just provides an opportunity to understand the social brain, which is just not present in mice or rats.

prairie voles, model, system, genes, social, brain, species, social behavior, larry, young

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