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A Methuselah of Mice Dies in Lab

January 18, 2003 GMT

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) _ A Methuselah of mice has died in a laboratory at Southern Illinois University, school officials said.

The dwarf mouse, otherwise known as GHR-KO 11C, died Jan. 8 after living the equivalent of 180 to 200 human years, said Andrzej Bartke, a physiologist who worked with the mouse.

At 4 years, 11 months and three weeks old, the lab mouse lived about twice as long as its species’ average of 2 to 2 1/2 years, and more than eight months longer than its closest rival at SIU.

``This mouse was just amazing,″ Bartke said.


The rodent was genetically engineered not to respond to a growth hormone, a possible reason behind its longevity, Bartke said. He added that the mouse’s low levels of insulin and glucose might also have had something to do with its long life.

Scientists placed the eight-gram mouse in a longevity study when they started to notice he was outliving his peers, Bartke said. GHR-KO 11C’s remains have been sent to the University of Texas at San Antonio for further longevity research.

Southern Illinois spokesman K.C. Jaehnig said no overall data base exists to determine whether the mouse was the oldest ever.