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Scientists discover rare superfast muscles in mouse legs

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

You might think that only DC Comics superhero The Flash could run at a speed of 200 strides per second. But in the animal world, special muscles—called "superfast muscles"—can move as fast as Barry Allen.

Now, for the first time, scientists from the Institute of Zoology and the Beijing Institute of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have identified these muscles in mouse legs, raising the prospect of future research that could break the physical speed limits of normal human arm and leg movements.

Traditionally, superfast muscles have only been found in some obscure parts of animal anatomy including hummingbird wings, rattlesnake tails, and bat larynxes. While fast twitch muscles—the muscles that athletes use for activities like sprinting—are widespread in mammalian limbs, superfast muscles had previously only been identified in one part of human and mammalian anatomy: the extraocular muscles that control rapid eye movement.



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