The mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) is considered as the most primitive primate living to date but share with human greater phylogenetic relativeness than classical rodent models.
The mouse lemur is characterized by specific adaptive traits that make this species a unique model for pluri-disciplinary studies on primates, especially metabolism and aging. Its small body mass (60 – 100 g) and size and the successful breeding in captivity allow experimental research close to those routinely performed on laboratory rodents, with further clinical perspectives. Finally, due to the relatively high longevity of the mouse lemur (7 – 10 years) and the high number of animals available in the colony (about 500), both cross-sectional and longitudinal projects are routinely conducted to study variations of biological functions and the associated aging process.
Taken together, all these aspects represent a real asset to satisfy the need for a novel non-human primate model in biological sciences. Indeed, over the past 10 years, the number of publications on the mouse lemur has highly increased, thus confirming the growing interest of the scientific community for this primate.