Differences Between "Marathon Mice" and "Couch Potato Mice" Reveal Key to Muscle Fitness, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Study

Published: May 10, 2013

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Researchers discovered that small pieces of genetic material called microRNAs link the two defining characteristics of fit muscles: the ability to burn sugar and fat and the ability to switch between slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers. The team used two complementary mouse models -- the "marathon mouse" and the "couch potato mouse" -- to make this discovery. But what's more, they also found that active people have higher levels of one of these microRNAs than sedentary people.

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