Introduction, Materials and Methods, and References
Degu (Octodon degus), a rodent native to the Andes Mountains in South America, is commonly known as the trumpet-tailed rat and belongs to the parvorder Caviomorpha along with the chinchilla and guinea pig. As experimental animal models, degus contribute to a variety of medical research fields, for example, those pertaining to diabetes, hyperglycemia, pancreatic function, and adaptation to high altitude. The degu recently gained increasing importance in the field of neuroscience, particularly in studies evaluating the relationship between sociality and cognitive brain functions (Fuchs et al. 2010; Helmeke et al. 2009) and studies pertaining to the evolutional aspects of the acquisition of tool-use abilities (Okanoya et al. 2008). Furthermore, aging-related brain dysfunction in humans can be studied using this animal model, in addition to some mammals with much longer life spans than the degu (Inestrosa et al. 2005; van Groen et al. 2011).
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