Tee-Shirt, OncoMouse

Description (Brief)
On April 12, 1988, OncoMouse became the first animal to be patented in the United States (patent number 4,736,866). OncoMice are genetically modified to have an active cancer gene, making them very likely to develop cancer. Scientists hoped this trait would make the mice useful test subjects for cancer research.
Developed by Harvard scientists Philip Leder and Timothy Stewart in early 1983, OncoMice were created by injecting known cancer genes into mouse embryos just after fertilization, using a very fine glass needle. This genetic modification not only made the mouse that grew from the embryo prone to cancer, but ensured that the cancer genes would be passed down to its offspring. Much of the funding for this research was paid for by DuPont, and the company was given priority to license the patent from Harvard, making it the sole distributor of OncoMice. This “Stalking Cancer” teeshirt advertises DuPont’s sale of OncoMice.
U.S. Patent 4,736,866. “Transgenic non-human mammals.” Published 12 April 1988.
“The Origins of Oncomice: A history of the first transgenic mice genetically engineered to develop cancer.” Douglas Hanahan, Erwin F. Wagner, and Richard D. Palmiter. Genes and Development. Volume 21. 2007. p.2258.
“Inventing Oncomice: making natural animal, research tool and invention cohere.” Rosemary Robins. Genomics, Society and Policy. Vol. 4, No 2. 2008. p. 21.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tee shirt
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
overall: 73.6 cm x 73.6 cm; 28 31/32 in x 28 31/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
Science & Mathematics
Health & Medicine
Biotechnology and Genetics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Biological Sciences
Biotechnology and Genetics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.