Rats hit the small screen

rat.jpgAnother mailing list I’m on is the RGD (Rat Genome Database) mailing list. It isn’t a hugely busy mailing list, but it has discussion of rat experiemental biology, tools, updates on RGD, important publications, etc. The most recent hot topic was the whitepaper in support of Rat research, which we learned recently will be published in the Nature Genetics May issue. Today’s odd mail cracked me up. Partly because a little girl I know has a newfound love of rats, and partly because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can make science more interesting and relevant to the general public. Anyway, here’s today’s big news in rat:

Modern Marvels: Rats

Premieres: Wednesday, April 30th @ 8pm ET/PT on The History Channel (please check local listings)

Rats! They’re some of the most dangerous, destructive and useful animals on Earth. The resilient rat has terrified humankind for centuries, but is the bad rap justified? In this episode of Modern Marvels, we’ll take the viewer on a rollercoaster ride through our love-hate relationship with the rat. We’ll ride along with a Terminix exterminator to get face to face with the creepy creature in a near rat infestation and see the great lengths we take to get rid of the pesky pest. And we’ll tour the Hacco Inc. rodenticide plant to see just how they concoct tasty poisons. But at the Taconic rat breeding facility, we’ll see how hundreds of thousands of rats are purposely bred and hand-raised in high-tech, controlled environments. We’ll get up close and personal with the remarkable rodent as it competes in the Xtreme Rat Challenge and at the annual American Fancy Rat show. We’ll trace their history and role as a vector of deadly diseases, but also explore how they have saved countless lives as a lab rat. And scientists at the State University of New York will show us how a remote controlled rat could become the ultimate rescue animal.

For more information log on to: http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=281393

I’m not sure that little girl I know would appreciate the exterminator part (but her papa might). But she might like the American Fancy Rat show, though. I wish you could edit the Tivo shows down….alas.

3 thoughts on “Rats hit the small screen

  1. Terry

    On the DVD release of the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” there is a very enjoyable animated short titled “Your Friend the Rat”. They short manages to convey a range of historical and scientific knowledge related to the rat with great humor. “It was the fleas that carried the plague, not us!” They also manage to treat with great sensitivity the importance of rats to biomedical research.

  2. Trey

    That’s the movie that has made my daughter a rabid (no pun intended at all) fan of rats. She now has two pet rats she’s devoted to. I’ll have to get the DVD.

    They always made me a bit squeamish, but up close as pets they are amazingly sweet, smart and fun. I think I get my daughter’s love for them.

  3. Pingback: Rats! Tonight on the History Channel | The OpenHelix Blog

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