Seven hundred laboratory mice marked the start of the Year of the Rat by relocating from London to their new home at the Shanghai Laboratory Animal Resource Center.
A worker at the Shanghai Laboratory Animal Resource Center meets one of the new arrivals yesterday. Gao Erqiang
Built at a cost of more than 183 million yuan ($25.6 million), the center, located in the Zhangjiang Hi-tech Zone, is designed to boost the capabilities of the city's scientific research and biomedical sector, its operators said.
Funding for the facility, which its operators claim is the largest and best-equipped in the country, came from the city government.
Mice are known to be fairly good representatives of the mammalian condition and have played a key role in biomedical research. As a result, demand for them has soared.
According to local studies, about 2 million lab mice are needed each year in Shanghai.
Work on the new center began in October. With a total area of 25,000 sq m, it can accommodate more than 26,000 mice in cages fitted with automatic water supply and waste disposal systems. A worker at the center said up to 1 million mice will be bred there every year, all of which will be cared for by trained staff.
The center will also provide research facilities for use by local pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, he said.
(China Daily February 21, 2008)