If only Walt Disney were alive to see this.
Researchers at the University of Osaka in Japan have created a genetically engineered mouse that features the remarkable ability to tweet and sing like a bird. Arikuni Uchimura, head researcher of the “Evolved Mouse Project,” which involves the use of genetically modified mice to aid in mutation and evolution.
According to Uchimira, “Mutations are the driving force of evolution. We have cross-bred the genetically modified mice for generations to see what would happen.”
The singing mouse, although a fluke, has resulted in the creation of more than one hundred other singing mice to be used in further research. Other characteristics the researchers have found include short limbs and a long tail “like a dachshund.”
While Uchimura would love to one day make a “Mickey Mouse,” the goal of this project, which operated out of a laboratory directed by professor Takeshi Yagi at the Osaka University’s Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences in western Japan, is to provide a greater understanding of the evolution of language.
Using birds, which emit a variety of sounds that are strung together to form a song that operates much like language, as a basis, Uchimura suggested that the “chirping” made by the mutated mice “may be some sort of expressions of their emotions or bodily conditions.” The mice are preferred study subjects over birds due to being mammals and having brain structures and other biological similarities to humans.
Beyond this, the team of researchers also discovered that some normal mice, when raised alongside the mutant offspring of Fievel from “An American Tale,” will emit “fewer ultrasounds” than other normal mice, which might imply a spread of communication methods.
It’s only a matter of time before the streets are overrun with mice singing “There Are No Cats in America,” heralding the creation of genetically engineered cats to dispose of them.