Muriel Davisson's mouse model critical for testing Down syndrome drugs in humans
Most of Professor Muriel Davisson's long career in genetics research at The Jackson Laboratory has involved finding spontaneous mutations in mice and genetically mapping and characterizing them.
Davisson is best known within her field for developing a mouse model for Down syndrome, a condition related to a chromosomal anomaly linked to mental retardation in more than 350,000 Americans. Over the past two decades, her mouse model has proven so essential to research that the National Down Syndrome Society named Davisson the group's 2002 "Researcher of the Year."
The mouse model, Ts65Dn, was recently featured in a New York Times article about Dr. Alberto Costa's quest to cure Down syndrome—the disease that plagues his young daughter, Tyche.
"It is the model being used by most scientists who are doing research on Down syndrome and studying behavior, memory and how kids learn if they have Down syndrome," she says. "They can now study this mouse."
Dr. Davisson continues to consult frequently with scientists using Ts65Dn mice. Her other major research area is analysis of spontaneous mutation mice to develop mouse models for human conditions due to single gene mutations. She has expertise in mouse genetics, linkage analysis, cytogenetics and mouse husbandry.