Scientists try to turn mice in to wine snobs

If you’ve been to a party, out to a fancy establishment, or been to a store selling wine, no doubt you’ve encountered a “wine snob.”  Wine snobs are those who not only consider themselves experts in the world of wine, but aren’t afraid to share their “expertise” with anyone and everyone surrounding them.  They’re a “wonderful” lot to spend time with.

Lest you think humans are the only species afflicted with wine snobbishness, a group of researchers at Japan’s Hiroshima University decided to train mice to tell the difference between different kinds of wine.

According to the researchers:

“We examined performance of mice in discrimination of liquor odors by Y-maze behavioral assays. Thirsty mice were initially trained to choose the odor of a red wine in the Y-maze. After successful training (>70% concordance for each trained mouse), the individual mice were able to discriminate the learned red wine from other liquors, including white wine, rosé wine, sake, and plum liqueur.”

Pretty impressive, for mice.  The research continued, this time the focusing on if mice could tell the difference between types of red wine:

“However, when the mice were tested to distinguish fine differences between 2 brands of red wine, their performance significantly varied among the individual trained mice. Among 10 mice tested, 2 mice were able to discriminate between the red wines (>75% concordance) whereas 6 mice failed to distinguish between them (50-67% concordance, where chance could be assumed to be 50%).”

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Humans – 1, Mice – 0.

Evidently the only reason behind the research was to determine if the attention of mice could be altered through learning experiences.  Seems like a complete waste of time to me.

What do you think of the research?  What merit, if any, does it have and are there any real-life applications you see where society may benefit from a world with wine-smart mice?

iO9

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Jeff Cormier
@jffcrmr

Animal, music, literature, and history lover. Law school graduate. Founder of C4 Universe. Writer for The Next Web and a few other internet destinations. Find me on any social network site under jffcrmr. It works, try it...

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