Tails of Two Cities: After Sandy, Research Rodents Meet Different Fates in New York and Baltimore

Vulnerable. Some research mice had nowhere to go after flooding caused by superstorm Sandy.

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Biomedical scientists in Baltimore, Maryland, are breathing a sigh of relief after rescuing some precious research mice from a Johns Hopkins University basement as it filled with water during superstorm Sandy. In New York City, however, the news was grimmer, as thousands of research mice and rats drowned in a similar facility at New York University (NYU).

At Hopkins, "the dean and senior staff at the medical school had formed a human chain, taking cages with laboratory mice to safety. It was quite an ordeal," President Ronald Daniels tells ScienceInsider. The rescue occurred Monday night, after stormwater began pouring into the lower floors of the Koch Cancer Research Building, reports Fern Shen of the online journal Baltimore Brew. In addition to the animals, staff members also recovered frozen tissue samples and other research materials and moved them to other facilities.

In New York, a similar rescue effort fell short at an NYU research facility in Kips Bay, reports Benedict Carey of The New York Times. Some 10,000 animals appear to have died, researchers told the Times, including genetic variants used to study a variety of neurological and physiological diseases. In some cases, the genetic lines may be recreated using animals from other research centers, researchers say. Katie Moisse of ABC News also reported this story.