|Obituary: IdG1-030, Requiescat in pace|
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IdG1-030, the world's oldest living mouse, died peacefully in his sleep on November 15, 2001, at the age of 1450 days, just 11 days shy of what would have been his 4th birthday.
Born and raised in a small plastic cage in Ann Arbor, MI, one of a set of quintuplets born to a mated pair whose own parents had romped, poor but free, in the barnyards of Moscow, Idaho, IdG1-030 was among the first volunteers for an NIH-funded study to determine whether country mice might retain anti-aging genes long ago lost by their effete town-and-gown cousins. IdG1-030 spent his entire life within 15 yards of his birthplace on shelf 4B, apparently content with a social circle consisting initially of three other males but then slowly shrinking, over the years, to a single idiosyncratic point. His devoted caretakers describe IdG1-030 as somewhat shy and certainly not prone to complaint, noting that he dealt with his late life celebrity as the world's oldest living mouse with the same diffidence that typified his earlier, out-of-the-limelight career as just another research subject. His great age (roughly equivalent, at the end, to that of a 136.73 year old man) did not, until the last day or two of his final illness, impair his zest for chewing wood chips or for doing pull-ups near the food hopper at the top of his cage.
Though encouraged by his friends and publicists to go for the international all-genotypes longevity record held by the longest lived Snell dwarf mouse (at 1451 days, see Flurkey et al., PNAS 98:6736-6741, 2001), IdG1-030 seemed to have no interest in comparing his own life history with that of puny dwarves or with emaciated, calorically restricted rodents, and was clearly willing to accept an asterisk in the record books as the price for a life of ready access to all-you-can-eat meals and the robust enjoyment of a fully-loaded anterior pituitary gland.
Though childless (and, indeed, a life-long virgin), IdG1-030 is survived by 9 half-nieces and nephews, 19 half grand-nieces and grand-nephews and 28 great half grand-nieces and nephews, all of them currently employed in the research field.
(*) except maybe for calorically restricted mice or dwarfs