My white mice have escaped!

House_mouseWriting in The Age this week, Bridie Smith, explains how gender matters when doing science. Especially if you’re a mouse.

Dr Hill has just completed a review of 710 scientific papers, with the results published this month in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

She found just 15 per cent of studies analysed used rodents of both sexes. Of those that did, 80 per cent established there were sex-specific results. In other words, males and females responded differently.

And why is this important? Well, because if medicine has been tested on rodents with XY chromosomes and those with XX have a different reaction, then there’s potential for issues when the pills get to us.

Variation between the sexes in medical trials could have significant implications, especially if the differences translate to humans because this raises questions about whether the drug design and dose recommendations that originate from single-sex animal studies serve the entire population or just half of it.

And this leads to an even more interesting question: what about transgender studies, with the relationship between chromosomes and hormones in relation to drugs?

Read more on The Age

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