Scientists at the University of Osaka, in Japan, claim to have used evolution to create a singing mouse. Before you get too excited, the mouse just makes chirping noises similar to that of a bird.

When asked about the singing mouse, Arikuni Uchimura (the researcher leading the team) was reported to have said the following:

“We checked the newly born mice one by one... One day we found a mouse that was singing like a bird,” he said, noting that the “singing mouse” was born by chance but that the trait will be passed on to future generations.”1

Was this mouse really born by chance? No it certainly was not, since these scientists carefully bred genetically modified mice to get their results. You may be wondering what “genetically modified” means. In this case, it means that the scientists changed the DNA in the original mice they were using for their experiments. The scientists hoped that after breeding these mice, they would have better chances of seeing genetic changes in the baby mice that were produced. They found exactly what we would expect in their research results—mutations!

The mutations were caused because information in the genetic code of the mouse was changed. Information is never added during a mutation, only altered.

So should a “singing” mouse be considered an example of evolution? It should not, because “they [the scientists] merely stumbled upon one poor mouse whose normal ‘voice’ has mutated to make a sound more like a bird’s. This is an example of ‘horizontal’ genetic change, altering—with human help—a characteristic the mouse already had rather than introducing a complex new feature.”2

For more information, please see the Mutations Q & A.

1“Japan Bio-Scientists Produce 'Singing Mouse'”, PhysOrg.com, http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-japan-bio-scientists-mouse.html.
2News to Note, January 15th, 2011, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/01/15/news-to-note-01152011.