Isogenic Rats

It strikes me that isogenic rat lines would be well suited to the commercial production of Rat Kings.

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23 Responses to Isogenic Rats

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m assuming you’re not referring to ratlines on sailing ships; you mean those urrrgh things I don’t want to think about.

  2. Coagulopath says:

    You wanna breed them to have velcro tails. Half the population has hooks, the other has loops.

    • Smithie says:

      Might not work if they were in the sewers and got wet.

    • gcochran9 says:

      The point is, no tissue rejection among members of an isogenic line. Just as you can make artificial Siamese twin rats through grafting them to each other, you can take it to the next level and make Rat Kings.

      • j says:

        But isogenic rats would be most dangerous (for the rats). A mutated virus could end the whole line in no time.

        • Jacob says:

          You would be surprised how easy this is to prevent. Immunodeficient mouse strains could be wiped out by many different viruses, but they’re not. Reasons:

          1) They’re kept in sterile environments.

          2) People purchase them and establish their own colonies; if one colony is wiped out, others will not be affected.

  3. Smithie says:

    My first thought was of something like the movie “Willard”: rats that would be kind of eusocial to a psychically-inclined human leader. (Maybe, there is already a line of lab rats like that? Or one that would make a good start, if the right person was chosen.)

    But then I looked it up. The number to beat seems to be 32, which I could well understand if rats had two tails, and they were curly.

    Naturally, I feel somewhat underprivileged, having only seen such curiosities as two-headed calves (stuffed) in my youth. I suppose one would really need a crack team of expert taxidermists to handle something like that. Either that, or turn it into a rat-king popsicle.

  4. Smithie says:

    I wonder what something like that (32) would do a terrier or boa.

    Dracula should have employed a few of them in Carfax Abbey.

  5. ASR says:

    OT but this reminded me of a SciFi short story, which I read many years ago. In the story, the rats on an interstellar craft mutate as a result of living in parts of the ship un-shielded from radiation. The rats become intelligent and develop primitive technology and cultures. Eventually a rat prophet arises with telepathic powers and develops a religion one of whose aims is to kill off the human crew and take over the ship. Most of the story involves rat politics and how the rat prophet connives with the rat king’s paramour (sexy and ruthless) to take over rat society. Does anyone remember this? I’d appreciate learning the title and author.

  6. NumberOneCustomer says:

    I found it with a Google of your first three sentences. Unfortunately, there should not only a spoiler alert in the wiki article, but also in your post!

    The first thing that came to my mind was the Rats of NIMH, which i didn’t realize had two follow on stories by a different author.

    • Coagulopath says:

      Also, check out “The Pevatron Rats” by Stephen Baxter. One of the more realistic time travel stories I’ve read.

      • NumberOneCustomer says:

        Wikipedia has that published in “The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF” Which sounds interesting..

        But they also say “The anthology attracted substantial criticism because all authors were white men.[1] In Strange Horizons, Graham Sleight reviewed it negatively, noting that “whole worlds of human experience are largely absent from this book—the sexual, the interpersonal, the everyday” and concluding that the anthology was “damaged by its narrowness” in attempting to evoke a sense of wonder through technophilia.[2]”

        So, now it sounds not just interesting, but freaking awesome.

    • ASR says:

      Thanks. Got it: “Giant Killer” by A. Bertram Chandler. I’d never have found it on my own, using Firefox.

      I apologize to anyone who thought my description contained a spoiler My fifteen year old self figured out the rat-human angle a few pages into the story when I first read it so I didn’t consider my description a spoiler.

      As I remember it, most of the story played out as a political narrative (like Van Vogt’s homage to “I, Claudius”, “Empire of the Atom”) as the mutant protagonist and his femme fatale paramour plotted and killed their way up to leadership of the clans (their sociopathic pairing reminded me of De Flores and Beatrice in Middleton and Rowley’s Jacobean play, “The Changeling”) then sought to prevent the disaster the mutant saw looming. I remember it as a great read and not a narrative whose central import was a trick ending.

  7. adreadline says:

    Isogenic chimerism and mosaicism?

  8. Jacob says:

    This is even more demented than my idea with raccoons.

  9. j says:

    Old isogenic rats could be rejuvenated by connecting their circulatory system to young rats and live, may be, forever. Or transplanting their heads to young bodies. The concept is old and not mine, and it would be interesting to know if it has been tried.

  10. Ben says:

    Off topic but Greg what are your thoughts on Dutton and Charlton’s book ‘The Genius Famine’ and the theory of genius and creativity that they advance: the ‘endogenous’ personality. It seems to be a another development on Eysenck’s idea of creativity being related to trait psychoticism. It’s also an interesting explanation as to why Jews are overachievers even relative to their IQ advantage (mostly in verbal which has never struck me as that important to math/science) and East Asians underachievers relative to their IQ advantage, compared to White Europeans.

  11. DSmolken says:

    In that case, Disney’s probably already working on isogenic lion lines. The next Lion King movie will be much more terrifyingly realistic.

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