I just come across with this article in Slate Magazine “The Mouse Trap – The dangers of using one lab animal to study every disease.” that talks in great details about the limitation of using animal model to look for new drugs to treat human diseases. For example, the control healthy mouse can actually be metabolically abnormal because of the way we keep and grow them. A recent paper published in the PNAS has unveiled some of these issues.
Martin B, Ji S, Maudsley S, Mattson MP. “Control” laboratory rodents are metabolically morbid: why it matters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6127-33. Epub 2010 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 20194732; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2852022.
And I just notice that this slate article belongs to a series of article, including one that talks about my favorite – naked mole rats.