Of all the laboratory animals, probably none has contributed more to the advancement of knowledge than the common mouse. Certainly among all the mammals it is the most widely used, for not less than one million mice are raised each year in this country for research in bacteriology, cancer and genetics.
A result of this extensive use of the mouse is that a large body of information has grown up concerning it. This, however, is so widely scattered through the literature that it is often a major undertaking for the research worker who wishes to use it to locate and gather the particular factsthat he needs. Much of this information is assembled in this book. In a number of cases, where there are important gaps in the literature, these have been filled in by special research projects. In general, controversial material has been avoided or given only brief mention. The emphasis is placed on established facts useful to the research worker.
Certain fields, for example anatomy and endocrinology, have of necessity been largely omitted. In most cases omitted material is adequately covered in other recent books.
Because it deals with the mouse alone, this book presents a vertical cross-section of biological knowledge rather than the more usual horizontal cross-section. It contains information about one animal drawn from various branches of zoology, rahter than information about one branch ofzoology drawn from a observation of a variety of animals. There is, I believe, one notable virtue in this vertical method of presentation, namely that it makes the synthesis of biological knowledge somewhat easier. There is a widespread feeling among biologists that progress will depend increasingly on the synthesis of the specialized techniques which have been developed within the individual cubby-holes into which science is somewhat arbitrarily divided. The departmentalization of biology is a convenience not to say an absolute necessity, but within the organism the tissues, the genes, the endocrines, the diseases and the processes of development are all intimately related, and the biologist frequently finds that research in his own specialty is leading him striaght into another field of knoweldge. At the present time there are, for example, increasingly well beaten paths between genetics and embryology, between cancer research and bacteriology, between bacteriology and genetics. It is a major purpose of this book, by gathering together the fundamental knowledge about the mouse fom several fileds of study, to make it easier for the research worker using mice as his experimental material to traverse these interconnecting paths of science.
The preparation of the book has been financed by a grant from the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation. This generous support has made possible the conduct of several pertinent research projects and the preparation of many original photographs and drawings. The embryological studies described in Chapter 1 have also been aided by a grant from teh Alexander Dallas Bache Fund of the National Academy of Sciences. In the preparation of their material the authors have been ably assisted by the following persons: Miss Olive Bartholomew, preparation of embryological and histological sections; Miss Bernette Bohen, drawings; Mr. Joshua Burnett, tabulation of linkage data; Dr. Elizabeth Chase, histological sections; Dr. Katherine P. Hummel, photography; Mr. Arthur Lieberman, bibliography; Mr. John Mowat, photography and construction of apparatus; Mr. William Payne, photography; Miss Ella Rowe, preparation of sections; Miss Elizabeth Keucher, assistance in preparation of the index. Prof. C.H. Danforth has made valuable suggestions in regard to several parts of the text.
In conclusion, the editor would like to express his appreciation to the other members of the Laboratory Staff for their continued cooperation and for many valuable suggestions, and to Dr. C.C. Little for his hearty support and, in a broader sense, for the wise direction in a large measure responsible for the friendly atmosphere so essential for successful collaboration.