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Lab mice drown in their THOUSANDS as Hurricane Sandy fills NYU basement

Boffin: It's a tragedy - rodents are the culmination of years of work

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New York University's collection of thousands of laboratory mice and rats drowned during Hurricane Sandy's ferocious storms.

The rodents were trapped in the basement of the institution's Kips Bay Smilow research centre, where they perished, the New York Times reported.

Staff were unable to rescue the creatures, which had been carefully bred and genetically altered to help scientists study heart disease, cancer and other serious health issues, when the facility was overwhelmed with flooding on Monday night (29 October).

“The combined tide and wind resulted in extensive flooding in the building, and unfortunately, my mouse colonies were wiped out,” associate director of the NYU Neuroscience Institute Gordon Fishell told the NYT.

“These animals were the culmination of 10 years of work, and it will take time to replace them.”

Fishell said that he had lost 2,500 mice during the freak weather, which has crippled power lines affecting around 5 million properties in the New York State. It's been reported that around 7,500 rodents died at the facility during the storm.

Boffins at rival institutions have heart-warmingly offered to donate a fresh batch of rodents to NYU's soggy research centre.

The New York Daily News reported that a loss of power at the facility had probably also destroyed precious enzymes, antibodies and DNA strands. ®

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