Description (Brief):

On April 12, 1988, OncoMouse became the first animal to be patented in the United States (U.S. Patent 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.

Description (Brief)

In early 1983 Harvard University scientists Philip Leder and Timothy Stewart created OncoMice by using a fine glass needle to inject known cancer genes into mouse embryos just after fertilization. This genetic modification not only made the mice prone to cancer, but also ensured that they would pass the cancer genes to their offspring. American chemical company DuPont funded much of this research. As a result, Harvard gave DuPont priority to license the patent, making the company the sole distributor of OncoMice.

Description (Brief)


Description (Brief)

Transgenic non-human mammals, U.S. Patent 4,736,866, filed June 22, 1984, and issued April 12, 1988.

Description (Brief)

Douglas Hanahan, Erwin F. Wagner, and Richard D. Palmiter, “The Origins of Oncomice: A history of the first transgenic mice genetically engineered to develop cancer,” Genes and Development 21, no. 18 (2007): 2258–70.

Description (Brief)

Rosemary Robins, “Inventing Oncomice: making natural animal, research tool and invention cohere,” Genomics, Society and Policy 4, no. 2 (2008): 21–35.

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Biological Sciences, Health & Medicine, Biotechnology and Genetics, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Donated by Charles River Laboratories, Inc.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2013.0279.01Catalog Number: 2013.0279.01Accession Number: 2013.0279

Object Name: mouse

Measurements: overall: 1 1/4 in x 2 in x 3 1/4 in; 3.175 cm x 5.08 cm x 8.255 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-e018-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1449806

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