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MICE AID OZONE RESEARCH

Scientists have found genes that make mice more sensitive to ozone, new research suggests.

Two reports in the current issue of the journal Nature Genetics describe studies of strains of mice with different sensitivities to the pollutant. One report examined the survival times of mice that breathed in ozone. One strain had a mean survival time of six hours; the other 20 hours. The researchers attributed the difference to two regions of genetic material -- one on chromosome 13, and the other on chromosome 11.

The second report used a different test -- lung inflammation caused by ozone. By comparing two mouse strains (one the same as in the first experiment), the researchers also came up with the chromosome 11 region, as well as a spot on chromosome 17.

If the mouse findings can be extended to humans, researchers may be able to tell which people should stay indoors during ozone alerts.

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