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Making Mice:
Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900-1955
Karen Rader

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

Hardcover | 2004 | $80.00 | ($48.00) / £55.00 | (£33.00) | ISBN: 9780691016368
312 pp. | 6 x 9 | 36 halftones.
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Making Mice blends scientific biography, institutional history, and cultural history to show how genetically standardized mice came to play a central role in contemporary American biomedical research.

Karen Rader introduces us to mouse "fanciers" who bred mice for different characteristics, to scientific entrepreneurs like geneticist C. C. Little, and to the emerging structures of modern biomedical research centered around the National Institutes of Health. Throughout Making Mice, Rader explains how the story of mouse research illuminates our understanding of key issues in the history of science such as the role of model organisms in furthering scientific thought. Ultimately, genetically standardized mice became icons of standardization in biomedicine by successfully negotiating the tension between the natural and the man-made in experimental practice.

This book will become a landmark work for its understanding of the cultural and institutional origins of modern biomedical research. It will appeal not only to historians of science but also to biologists and medical researchers.


"Extremely well written and enjoyable to read. . . . The study of human diseases using standardized animal models has now become routine practice, but its acceptability was established in large part through the use of inbred mice, as Rader convincingly argues."--Rachel A. Ankeny, American Scientist

"A brilliant synthesis of scientific, intellectual, and cultural history. Its subject matter is new, and the book's ultimate impact on scientific history will be significant. The product of ten years of research and writing, the tome is polished, cogent, and magnificently documented."--Choice

"Karen Rader has written an insightful and, at times, humorous chronological history of the famous Jax mice and their unflagging promoter, C.C. Little. . . . Rader beautifully illustrates the give and take between the scientific community and the general society."--Biology Digest

"In this compelling historical analysis, Karen Rader shows how the common mouse (Mus musculus) was transformed into a commodity, manufactured, and marketed not only to American research laboratories, but to politicians, health policy makers, and the members of the general public as well."--Susan E. Lederer, Journal of the History of Biology

"Rader's carefully researched and well-produced book will be indispensable reading for everyone interested in the laboratory mouse and more generally in the tools and practices of twentieth-century biomedicine."--Soraya de Chadarevian,Journal of the History of medicine and Allied Sciences


"This energetic and elegantly written book represents a landmark study of the role of model organisms in the history of science. Blending biography, institutional history, and history of biology, Rader shows how mice came to feature so prominently in twentieth-century (and, indeed, twenty-first century) biomedical research."--Angela N. H. Creager, Princeton University

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Table of Contents:

Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xvii
CHAPTER ONE: Mice, Medicine, and Genetics: From Pet Rodents to Research Materials (1900-21) 25
CHAPTER TWO: Experiment and Change: Institutionalizing Inbred Mice (1922-30) 59
CHAPTER THREE: Mice for Sale: Commodifying Research Animals (1930-33) 97
CHAPTER FOUR: A New Deal for Mice: Biomedicine as Big Science (1933-40) 135
CHAPTER FIVE: R X Mouse : JAX Mice in Cancer Research (1938-55) 175
CHAPTER SIX: Mouse Genetics as Public Policy: Radiation Risk in Cold War America (1946-56) 221
EPILOGUE: Animals and the New Biology: Oncomouse and Beyond 251
Bibliography 269
Index 293

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