The mouse that roared
The University of Tokyo has created a genetically-engineered mouse that has no sense of smell. Hence, it no longer fears its prime predator, the cat.india Updated: Dec 17, 2007 02:36 IST
‘Are you a man or a mouse?’ That question to which we thought there could only be one answer. But now it seems that the reply ‘mouse’ could well be the way to go. The University of Tokyo has created a genetically-engineered mouse that has no sense of smell. Hence, it no longer fears its prime predator, the cat. The study team had released pictures of a mutant mouse nuzzling a bewildered cat. We are told that the feline in question was well-fed before the mouse made its bold approach. But, in real life, such forthcoming behaviour on the part of the fearless mouse could invite bloody retribution from the cat that is ignorant of its prey’s new-found credentials as Iron Mouse Tyson.
Assuming that the cat were to begin trembling in fear at the prospect of annihilation from the ruthless rodent, this gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘cat and mouse game’. For a start, it would have to be rephrased mouse and cat; the former have got the upper claw here. The term ‘quiet as a mouse’ would no longer apply as mice with muscles take over a significant part of the animal kingdom. It will no longer be ‘the cat that got the cream’, but the mouse. The farmer’s wife would think twice before attacking the three blind mice lest they turn on her.
But what happens to comic strips like Garfield? The fat cat will have to do a lot more than come up with wisecracks to hold off the crafty mouse. And at last, cartoons like Tom and Jerry will be validated — the mouse does indeed get the better of the cat. A fulfilment of the prophecy, the squeak shall inherit the earth!