The Current

Of Mice and Women: Scientists push to fix gender gap in lab rats for research

As many as 80 per cent of the mice used in biomedical research are male. And of the ten major drugs pulled from the shelves over the last 20 years, eight have posed greater health risks for women. The Current explores the push for more balanced research.
Science has a mouse problem. The lack of female mice in biomedical research studies may be potentially skewing results, and doing women patients no favours. (Alexander H. Tuttle/The Canadian Press)
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There's a gender gap in the field of biomedical research and the issue of gender representation is not with the scientists but with the gender of mice and rats studied in experiments. As many as 80 per cent of the mice used in biomedical research are male.

Scientists are concerned about the imbalance — warning that the disparity could be having some serious consequences when it comes to women's health. 

Of the 10 major drugs pulled from the shelves over the last 20 years, eight have posed greater health risks for women.

The American National Institutes of Health is trying to fix this gap. New rules this year require researchers to include both male and female animals in their studies to get funding.

Similar rules exist in Canada, but some scientists say they don't go far enough. 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Willow Smith.