Disease Models & Mechanisms is pleased to announce the launch of a new Special Collection named Spotlight on Rat: Translational Impact. The rat is a key model for basic and preclinical studies of physiology, pharmacology, toxicology and neuroscience, underlining its importance in studies of human disease. There are many reasons for its suitability as a model system – the close evolutionary and genomic relationship to humans, the sophistication and sociability of the animal, the ease of physiological and behavioural measurements, and the recent proliferation of transgenic and knockout rats, enabled by new and improved technologies for genetic manipulation.
In an introductory Editorial, guest editors of the launch issue Tim Aitman and Aron Geurts discuss why it is a timely moment to review progress and prospects for rat-based translational research. The launch issue includes an exclusive interview with Howard Jacob, who provides his perspectives on the past, present and future or rat research, an update on the Rat Genome Database, and Reviews on the key advances made using this model in the fields of system genetics, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injury. We also present an At a Glance poster article that describes important differences between rats and mice that impact on their use as model organisms for brain disorders. The original research articles published in the issue highlight the utility of the rat model across diverse areas, including neuroscience and neurobehaviour, musculoskeletal disease, oncology, metabolism, and infection and immunity.
Coming up soon are Review articles on rat models of obesity and renal disease, plus more original research.
To read and sign up for updates on the full Collection, go to the dedicated page at http://dmm.biologists.org/collection/rat-disease-model