Lesley A. Colby, Howard G. Rush, Megan M. Mahoney, Theresa M. Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter studies the degu, its attributes, and uses as a laboratory animal species. Degus are mostly associated with the study of circadian rhythms due to their diurnal activities in the wild and they have also been established as valuable animal models in the study of a wide range of scientific areas including developmental biology, diabetes mellitus, cataracts, and Alzheimer's disease. The organ systems and physiological processes that have made the degu a useful animal model in various areas of research have been described in detail such as external features, circulatory system, and the nervous system. Due to less established laboratory colonies, much remains to be discovered regarding optimal housing, disease control, and veterinary care of the species. The chapter describes the management, husbandry, nutrition, diseases, and behavioral patterns of the degu. The degu is chosen as an animal for experimental model due to its characteristics such as complex familial and social structure and highly developed vocal repertoire. Also degus are relatively long-lived when compared to many other laboratory rodents. The research models that have been explained are thymic research, Alzheimer's disease, production of antisera, and atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780123809209
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • anatomy
  • degu
  • experimental model
  • handling
  • health
  • management
  • octodont

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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