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Inbred Strains of Mice: DBA


rey: a,b,d. Origin: Little 1909 from stock segregating for coat colour. Oldest of all inbred strains of mice. In 1929-30 crosses were made between substrains, and several new substrains established, including the widely used substrains /1 and /2. Differences between the substrains are probably too large to be accounted for by mutation, and are probably due to substantial residual heterozygosity following the crosses between substrains. Thus DBA/1 and DBA/2 differ at least at the following loci: Car2, Ce2, Hc, H2, If1, Lsh, Tla, and Qa3. With such large differences, they should probably be regarded as different strains rather than substrains of the same strain. In this listing the two are listed separately. DBA/LiA differs from /1 and /2 at the Gpd1 locus, and is similar to DBA/2 at the Tla locus. Note that unfostered substrains carry the mammary tumour virus and have a high indicence of mammary tumours.

Main substrains are:


Inbr(A) ?+126. Origin: Little to Amsterdam circa 1932. Maint. by A.


Inbr (J) ?+117. Origin: Substrain maintained by Little at the Jackson Laboratory. Maint. by J,N,Ola.


Inbr (J) 150. Origin: Substrain maintained at the Jackson Laboratory. Maint. by J,N, Ola.

Characteristics of substrains other than DBA/1 and DBA/2:

Ehling (1964) reported sensitivity to X-irradiation (1/5). Lung adenomas 1-11% in DBAf/A, and leukaemia 0-% in DBA/LiA and 5-8% in DBAf/A (Muhlbock and Tengbergen, 1971). DBA/Li is resistant to colon carcinogenesis by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (cf. 4/7) (Evans et al., 1977., 1977).


For origins see DBA


High food drive (4/15) and high open-field activity (4/15) (Thompson, 1953). Low open-field activity (11/13) (Bruell, 1964). Good performance in food-seeking task (2/6) (Henderson, 1970). Low preference for sweet tasting substances (saccharin, sucrose, dulcin and acesulfame, averaged) (23/26) (Lush 1988).

Life-span and spontaneous disease

Primary lung tumours 3% in males, 1% in breeding females and zero in virgin females; lymphatic leukaemia less than 1%. Mammary adenocarcinomas zero in males, 90% in breeding females and 61% in virgin females in unfostered substrain (Hoag, 1963). A high proportion of the mammary tumours are of the acinar type (1/7) (Tengbergen, 1970). Lung tumours 2-27% (Festing and Blackmore, 1971). Low gross tumour incidence in males (19/22) (Storer, 1966).

Life-span of males short in conventional conditions (6/22 = 433 days) but long in females (21/22 = 750 days) (Storer, 1966). Life-span in SPF fostered conditions also short in males (5/17 = 487 days) and long in females (13/17 = 686 days) (Festing and Blackmore, 1971).

Normal physiology and biochemistry

High serum ceruloplasmin levels (1/26 males, 2/27 females) (Meier and MacPike, 1968). High plasma cholinesterase activity in females (2/22) (males not measured) (Angel et al., 1967., 1967). Low liver tyrosine aminotransferase in fasted mice (8/10) (Blake,1970). Low cell turnover as estimated by slow clearance of DNA-bound radioactivity (17/17) (Heiniger et al., 1972., 1972). Low venous (10/10) and arterial (8/10) blood pH (Bernstein, 1966).


Low brain weight (15/18 males, 18/18 females) (Storer, 1967). High erythrocyte count (1/18), low mean corpuscular volume (17/18) (Russell et al., 1951., 1951). Large number of Peyer's patches (1/7) (Hummel et al., 1966., 1966).


Resistant to skin ulceration by DMBA (cf. 9/22) (Thomas et al., 1973., 1973). Resistant to induction of subcutaneous tumours by 3-methylcholanthrene (14/14) (Kouri et al., 1973., 1973), (12/12) (Whitmire et al., 1971., 1971).

Sensitive to X-irradiation (21/27) (Roderick, 1963). Males have a long sleeping time under hexobarbital (15/15) (Lovell, 1976), long sleeping time under pentobarbitone anaesthetic (23/23), Lovell (1986). Insensitive (eosinophil response) to cortisone acetate (cf. 3/6) (Wragg and Speirs, 1952). Sensitive to teratogenic effect (cleft palate) by cortisone acetate (2/6) (Kalter 1981). Sensitive to seizures induced by nicotine (19/19) (Marks et al 1989). Clonidene induces a strong aggressive behavioural response (2/9) (Nikulina and Klimek, 1993).


Low lymphocyte phytohaemagglutinin response (42/43) (Heiniger et al., 1975., 1975). Poor immune response to ovomucoid, but good response to ovalbumin (cf. 6/12) (Vaz et al., 197 l). Good primary immune response to bovine serum albumin (2/6) (James and Milne, 1972). Good primary immune response to sheep erythrocytes (2/6 for haemagglutinin response at 3 x 107, 3 x 108 and 3 x 109 dose levels, 1/6 for haemagglutinin response at 3 x 108 dose only) (Ghaffar and James, 1973). Non-discriminator between `H' and `L' sheep erythrocytes (cf. 6/18) (McCarthy and Dutton, 1975). Poor immune response to (Pro-Gly-Pro)n (cf. 6/7) (Fuchs et al., 1974., 1974). High susceptibility to IgG1-mediated (2/12) but low susceptibility to IgE-mediated (10/12) passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (De Souza et al., 1974., 1974). Good immune response to Salmonella strasbourg lipopolysaccharide (2/7) (Di Pauli, 1972). Erythrocytes have a high agglutinability (cf. 14/25) (Rubinstein et al., 1974., 1974). Injection of heterologous type II collagen induces arthritis (Courtenay et al, 1980).


Susceptible to Mycoplasma fermentens (2/6) (Gabridge et al., 1972., 1972). Resistant to Plasmodium berghei infection (8/8) (Most et al., 1966., 1966). High mortality in a natural epizootic of ectromelia (2/8) (Briody, 1966). Rapid immunological expulsion of Trichinella spiralis worms (Wakelin and Donachie 1980). Susceptible (2/7) to the development of chronic Chagas' cardiomyopathy in postacute Trypanosoma cruzi infection (Rowland et al 1992). Infection with larval Echinococcus multilocularis by transportal injection of hyatid homogenate results in a multivesiculation form of hyatid development (cf 4/9). Protoscoleces are well developed (Nakaya et al, 1997).


Poor breeding performance (20/22), colony output 0.77 young/female/week, litter size 4.4 weaned (19/25) (Festing, 1976a).


Recommended host for the following transplantable tumours: anaplastic carcinoma dbrB, mammary adenocarcinomas CaDl and T1703, melanoma S91 and pleomorphic sarcoma S37 (which is not host-specific) (Kaliss, 1972).

An embryonic stem cell line has been developed by Roach et al (1995).

High incidence of spontaneous `deviants' (possible mutations) (4/21) (Schlager and Dickie, 1967).


For origins see DBA


Low alcohol preference (4/4) (Fuller, 1964b), (18/18) (Rodgers, 1966), (5/5) (McClearn, 1965). High severity of ethanol withdrawal symptoms compared with C57BL/6, possibly associated with differences in neuroactive steriod sensitivity (Finn et al, 1997). High shock-avoidance learning (2/9) (Bovet et al., 1966., 1966), (1/9) (Bovet et al., 1969., 1969). Low avoidance conditionability (7/9) (Royce, 1972). Long time of immobility in a forced swimming test (3/9) (Nikulina et al 1991) Low shuttle-box avoidance (4/5), high wheel activity (Messeri et al., 1972., 1972). Good long-term memory compared with C3H/He (Bovet et al., 1969., 1969). Slow extinction of learned conditioned avoidance response (7/7) (Schlesinger and Wimer, 1967). Susceptible to audiogenic seizures (2/11) (Fuller and Sjursen, 1967). Long latency to attack crickets (6/7) (Butler, 1973). High rearing (1/7), low defaecation (6/7) in Y-maze (McClearn et al., 1970., 1970). Low locomotor activity when grouped (6/6) but not when single (3/6) (Davis et al., 1967., 1967). Low social dominance of males in competition for females (6/6) (DeFries and McClearn, 1970). Low balsa-wood gnawing activity (4/16) Fawdington and Festing (1980). Low preference for sweet tasting substances (saccharin, sucrose, dulcin and acesulfame, averaged) (20/26) (Lush 1988).

DBA/2 mice failed to react to a spatial change of objects in an open field, and therefore resemble rats with dorsal lesions of the hippocampus. They may represent a model of hippocampal dysfunction (Ammassari_Teule et al, 1995). Feed restriction for nine days causes a high incidence of stereotypic cage cover climbing (contrast C57BL/6) (Cabib and Bonaventira, 1997).

Life-span and spontaneous disease

Primary lung tumours l% in males, 2% in females. Lymphatic leukaemia zero in males, 2% in females and 3% in virgin females. Mammary adenocarcinomas in unfostered substrains l% in males, 72% in breeding females and 48% in virgin females (Hoag, 1963). A high proportion of mammary tumours are of the acinar type (1/7) (Tengbergen, 1970). Overall tumour incidence 15% in males, 49% in females, including lymphomas 10% in males and 12% in females; mammary tumours zero in males and 31% in virgin females (Smith et al., 1973., 1973). Leukaemia 3% (Myers et al., 1970., 1970).

Long life-span in SPF fostered conditions (12/17 = 629 days in males, 15/17 = 719 days in females) with 6-35% liver and 1-23% lung tumours (Festing and Blackmore, 1971). Long life-span in conventional conditions (21/22 = 707 days in males, 20/22 = 714 days in females) (Storer, 1966). Life-span 722_30 days in males and 683_26 days in females (Goodrick, 1975).

High incidence of expression of RNA tumour virus group-specific antigen (2/5) (Diwan et al., 1973., 1973). Type B reticulum cell neoplasms 18% at about 20 weeks (Dunn and Deringer, 1968).

Spontaneous calcified heart lesions progress with age. 90% of individuals affected by 1 year (Rings and Wagner, 1971). Incidence of calcareous heart lesions high (1/5) among some related strains (Di Paola et al., 1964., 1964). Dystrophic cardiac calcification may be related to disturbed myocyte calcium metabolism (Brunnert, 1997). Chronic hypertropic gastritis, duodenal polyps and calcareous pericarditis frequently observed. Other lesions include malignant lymphoma and degenerative processes in the myocardium, skeletal muscle, subcutaneous adipose tissue, cornea and blood vessels. Lesions partly depend on diet (Hare and Stewart, 1956).

Carry three separate recessive genes similar to those found separately in C57BL/6J, BALB/cBy and WB/ReJ, causing age-related hearing loss (Willott et al, 1995).

Normal physiology and biochemistry

High metabolic rate (1/18) (Storer, 1967). High metabolic rate at 26C (1/6) (Pennycuik, 1967). High cell turnover as estimated by rapid clearance of DNA-bound radioactivity (4/17) (Heiniger et al., 1972., 1972). High proportion of paradoxical (REM) sleep (2/9) (Pagel et al., 1973., 1973).

High concentration of epinephrine and norepinephrine in adrenals (1/5) (Ciranello et al., 1972., 1972). Low Na/K ratio in erythrocytes (9/9) but high ratio in plasma (1/9) (Waymouth, 1973). Arterial blood has a high pH (2/10) (Bernstein, 1966). Low concentration of prostaglandin F in epididymis (5/6) (Badr, 1975). High plasma cholinesterase (5/22 in females, 8/22 in males) (Angel et al., 1967., 1967). Low liver tyrosine aminotransferase activity in fasted mice (9/10) (Blake, 1970). High calcium uptake by the heart (1/5) (Mokler and Iturrian, 1973). High sensitivity to thyrotropin (3/21) (Levy et al., 1965., 1965). High coumarin hydroxylating ability (cf. 4/13) (Lush and Arnold, 1975). High coumarin hydroxylase activity (1/8) in both sexes (Van Iersel et al, 1994). Low N'-methylnicotinamide oxidase activity in both sexes (7/7) (Huff and Chaykin, 1967). High serum haptoglobin level (1/11) (Peacock et al., 1967., 1967). Low hepatic benz (alpha) pyrene hydroxylase activity (6/6) (Kodama and Bock, 1970). High hepatic delta-aminolaevulinate dehydratase activity (2/8) (Doyle and Schimke, 1969). Low aldehyde and alcohol dehydrogenase activity compared with C57BL/6 (Sheppard et al., 1968., 1968). High hepatic delta-aminolaevulinic acid synthetase activity after DISC treatment (2/15) (Gross and Hutton, 1971). High hepatic urokinase activity (1/6) (Hanford et al., 1974., 1974). High basal level of growth hormone at 78 days (1/6) and low basal level of serum prolactin (6/6) (Sinha et al., 1975., 1975). High brain L-glutamic acid decarboxylase (2/7), choline acetyltransferase (2/7) and acetylcholinesterase (1/7) activity (Tunnicliff et al., 1973., 1973). Low brain sulphatide (5/5) and plasmalogen (5/5) and high brain sterol (1/5) (Sampugna et al., 1975., 1975). Low brain cholinesterase (5/5) (Pryor et al., 1966., 1966). Resistant to the development of atherosclerosis on a semi-synthetic high fat diet (cf 5/9) (Nishina et al, 1993). Hyporesponsive to diets containing high levels of fat and cholesterol (9/9) (Kirk et al, 1995). Mild hypercapnia with hypoxia significantly elevated minute ventilation rate (1/8) (Tankersley et al, 1994).


Large testes weight (2/8) (Shire and Bartke, 1972). Low brain weight (18/18 in males, 15/18 in females) (Storer, 1967). Low brain weight (25/25) (Roderick et al., 1973., 1973). Low brain weight (6/6) (Wahlsten et al., 1975., 1975). High total leukocyte count (6/18), high erythrocyte count (3/18), low haematocrit (15/18), low mean corpuscular volume (18/18) and low haemoglobin (16/18 or 15/18, depending on substrain) (Russell et al., 1951., 1951).

Small forebrain (9/9), neocortex (9/9) and hippocampus volume (8/9) (Wimer et al., 1969., 1969). Cerebellum has an intraculminate fissure between vermian lobule IV and vermian lobule V (the ventral and dorsal lobules of the culmen) (contrast SJL, C57BL/10 and BALB/c) (Cooper et al 1991). Large heart/body weight (1/5) (Mokler and Iturrian, 1973). High proportion of acidophilic (1/5) and low proportion of chromophobe (5/5) cells in adenohypophysis of DBA/Sy substrain (Keramidas and Symeonidis, 1973). High number of haematopoetic stem cells in bone marrow (contrast C57BL/6) (Muller-Sieburg and Riblet, 1996). High level of spontaneous sister chromatid exchange (3/4) (Nishi et al, 1993).

Hematopoetic stem-cell pool 11-fold higher than in C57BL/6. This is largely due to loci on chromosome 1 (Mullersieburg and Riblet, 1996).


Resistant to skin ulceration by DMBA (cf. 9/22) (Thomas et al., 1973., 1973). Resistant to induction of subcutaneous tumours by 3-methylcholanthrene (12/14) (Kouri et al., 1973., 1973), (11/12) (Whitmire et al., 1971., 1971). Resistant to induction of adenocarcinomas of the colon by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (cf. 2/4) (Evans et al., 1974., 1974).

Resistant to teratogenic effect of 1-ethyl-1-nitrosourea (4/5) (Diwan, 1974). Phenobarbital i.p. does not induce hepatic epoxide hydrase (cf. 3/7) (Oesch et al., 1973., 1973). Resistant to lethal effects of ozone (21/22) (Goldstein et al., 1973., 1973). Susceptible to induction of cleft palate by cortisone (2/5) (Kalter, 1965). Good ovulatory response to 3 I.U. of PMS but zero response to 7 I.v. (Zarrow et al., 1971., 1971). Low incidence of convulsions induced by flurothyl (5/5) (Davis and King, 1967). Long hexobarbital sleeping time (8/9) and low liver hexobarbital oxidase level (2/9) (Vesell, 1968). Sensitive to chloroform toxicity (cf. 4/9) (Hill et al., 1975; Deringer et al., 1953 al., 1953). Sensitive to seizures induced by nicotine (1/19) (Marks et al 1989). Sensitivity may be related to brain alpha-bungarotoxin binding, which is significantly higher in ST/b than in sensitive DBA/2 mice (Marks et al, 1996). High self-selection of nicotine (2/6) which is inversely correlated with sensitivity to nicotine-induced seizures (Robinson et al, 1996).

High bronchial reactivity (2/6) to methacholine and serotonin (Konno et al 1993). Resistant (7/8) to daunomycin-induced nephorsis (Kimura et al 1993). High (1/10) neural sensitivity to pentylenetetrazol convulsions (Kosobud et al 1992). Sensitive (1/3) to neurotoxic effects of monocrotophos (Rao et al 1991). Low histamine release from peritoneal mast cells induced by compound 48/80, a calcium dependent histamine releaser ( c.f. 5/8) (Toda et al 1989). High histamine release from peritoneal mast cells induced by Ca2+ ionophore A23187 ( c.f. 7/8, contrast C57BL/6) (Toda et al 1989). Carries gene (Tpmt) for high levels of thiopurine methyltransferase activity, catalyzing the S-methylation of 6-mercaptopurine and other heterocyclic and aromaticthiol compounds (unlike C57BL/6 and AKR) (Otterness and Weinshilboum 1987a,b). Resistant (contrast 5 strains) to the induction of micronuclei by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, presumably due to uninducible Ah locus (Sato et al, 1987). Iron overload does not cause inhibition of hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase and uroporphyria in contrast with C57BL/10ScSn . This was not correlated with the Ah locus in a study involving 12 mouse strains (Smith and Francis, 1993). Resistant to hepatotoxic effects of cadmium (Shaikh et al, 1993). Low voluntary comsumption of morphine in two-bottle choice situation (13/15) (Belknap et al, 1993). Less susceptible to the development of micronuclei than BALB/c following treatment with clastogenic base analogues and nucleosides (Sato et al, 1993). Unique poor responsiveness to the antinociceptive effects of nitrous oxide, a polygenic trait (Quock et al, 1996). Nine-fold lower ED50 for haloperidol-induced catalepsy than C57BL/6, but this is not associated with numbers of cholinergic neurons (Dains et al, 1996).

Airways hyperreactive to acetylcholine (c.f. 3/7) (Zhang et al, 1995). Resistant (1/4) to rate-depressant effects of ethanol on schedule-controlled behaviour (Elmer and George, 1995). A diet containing 15% dairy fat, 1% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid did not cause a high incidence of cholesterol gallstones (like AKR, SM contrast C57L, SWR, A) (Faulkner et al, 1995)


Resistant to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (cf. 7/18) (Levine and Sowinski, 1973). Low lymphocyte phytohaemagglutinin response (43/43) (Heiniger et al., 1975., 1975). Serum antinuclear factor 26% incidence (3/17) (Barnes and Tuffrey, 1967). Poor immune response to type III pneumococcal polysaccharide (5/5) (Braley and Freeman, 1971). Good immune response to synthetic double-stranded RNA (2/7) (Steinberg et al., 1971., 1971). Poor immune response to cholera A and B antigens (8/9 B, 6/8A) (Cerny et al., 197 l). Poor immune response to both ovomucoid and ovalbumin (cf. 2/12) (Vaz et al., 1971., 1971). Precipitating and skin-sensitising antibodies have fast electrophoretic mobility (2/6) (Fahey, 1965). Non-discriminator between `H' and `L' sheep erythrocytes (cf. 6/18) (McCarthy and Dutton, 1975). Low anti-DNP antibody concentration (7/7) (Paul et al., 1970., 1970). Poor immune response to Pro-Gly-Pro-ovalbumin (6/7) and (Pro-Gly-Pro)n(6/7), but good immune response to (Pro66, Gly34)n (1/7) (Fuchs et of., 1974). High susceptibility to IgG1-mediated (1/12) but low susceptibility to IgE-mediated (11/12) passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (De Souza et al., 1974., 1974). Develops a lethal form of syngeneic graft-vs-host disease when treated with cyclosporine (unlike 5 other strains) (Prud'homme et al 1991). Erythrocytes have a high agglutinability (cf. 14/25) (Rubinstein et al., 1974., 1974). Poor immune response to Salmonella strasbourg lipopolysaccharide (5/7 to 7/7, depending on substrain) (Di Pauli, 1972). Low PHA-stimulated lymphocyte blastogenic response (5/6) (Hellman and Fowler, 1972). Low immune response to ferritin (12/16) (Young et al., 1976., 1976). Resistant to induction of anaphylactic shock by ovalbumin (cf. 6/13) (Tanioka and Esaki, 1971). Resistant (11/12) to experimental autoimmune orchitis induced by two or three sc injections with viable syngeneic testicular germ cells without any adjuvants (Tokunaga et al 1993). Anti-BPO IgE monoclonal antibody failed to produce potent systemic sensitization sufficient for provocation of lethal shock in most aged (6 to 10 months) mice (c.f. 5/8) (Harada et al 1991). High expression of neutral glycosphingolipid GgOse(4)Cer in concanavalin A stimulated T lymphoblasts (cf 3/6) (Muthing, 1997).


Resistant to infection by Salmonella typhimurium strain C5 (4/7) (Plant and Glynn, 1974). Susceptible to liver fluke Opisthorchis felineus (1/6) (Zelentsov, 1974). Susceptible to natural intestinal helminth infection (9/10) (Eaton, 1972). Develops a chronic non-healing lesion on infection with Leishmania tropica, the parasite causing cutaneous leishmaniasis (Howard et al 1980). Susceptible (7/7) to the induction of dental caries due to infection with Streptococcus mutans (Kurihara et al 1991). Susceptible (3/7) to the development of chronic Chagas' cardiomyopathy in postacute Trypanosoma cruzi infection (Rowland et al 1992). Infection with larval Echinococcus multilocularis by transportal injection of hyatid homogenate results in well developed protoscoleces (cf 4/9) (Nakaya et al, 1997). Highly susceptible to infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa with rapid accumulation of bacterial burden and high mortailty, in contrast with resistant BALB/c mice (Morissette et al, 1995). Susceptibility is associated with a delay in inflamatory response and the initiation of bacterial clearance (Morisette et al, 1996). Susceptible (2/4) to disseminated Cryptococcus neoformans (Irokanulo et al, 1995). Highly susceptible to infection with Candida albicans (2/6) (Ashman et al,1996). Resistant, with low amylase response to the fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (cf 6/12) (Xidieh et al, 1994). Highly susceptible (1/17), with high mortality following infection with Mycoplasma pulmonis (Cartner et al, 1996). Susceptibile to infection by Helicobacter felis with moderate to severe chronic active gastritis in the body of the stomach, which increased over time (cf 4/6) (Sakagami et al, 1996).

Low susceptibility to BALB/Tennant leukaemia virus (10/12) (Tennant, 1965). Hyperglycaemia can be induced by encephalomyocarditis virus (cf. 2/6), which also causes diabetes mellitus (cf. 7/14) (Boucher and Notkins, 1973; Boucher et al., 1975., 1975). High susceptibility to develop leukaemia on infection with Friend virus (cf. 5/Il) (Dietz and Rick, 1972). Mouse mammary tumor proviral loci have been identified by Lee and Eicher (1990).


Poor breeding performance (18/25). Colony output 0.85 young/female/week. Low litter size at weaning of 4.7 (17/26) (Festing, 1976a). Poor breeding performance (8/8). Litter size 4.2_0.3, sterility 31% (Nagasawa et al., 1973., 1973). Intermediate breeding performance (13/24) (Hansen et al., 1973., 1973). Corpora lutea may persist over many cycles, becoming hyalinised and calcified (Chai and Dickie, 1966). Has shorter and less regular oestrus cycles than C57BL/6J (Nelson et al 1992). Susceptible to foetal resorption resulting from restraint-induced stress when mated to C3H/HeJ males, in contrast with CBA/J and A/J. This was reduced by alloimmunization with C3H cells (McMaster et al 1993).


Recommended host for the following transplantable tumours: fibrosarcoma SaD2, lymphatic leukaemia P1534 and mammary adenocarcinoma CaD2 (Kaliss, 1972). Hybrids involving DBA/2 are recommended host for transplantable leukaemia L1210, melanoma S91 and MOPC myeloma used as models in screening potential anticancer drugs (E.O.R.T.C. Screening Group, 1972).

The Fv2r allele appears to be lethal on the DBA/2 genetic background (Blank and Lilly, 1976). High mortality after neonatal thymectomy (5/6) (Law, 1966a).

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Updated 9 Apr. 1998
Michael FW Festing
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University of Leicester, UK

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