London, Oct 16 (ANI): A new breed of Dangermouse could soon be coming to the rescue of front-line troops, as scientists are trying to produce a real-life rodent that can sniff out landmines - avoiding many a narrow squeak for disposal experts.
Researchers in the US are modifying the creatures' genes to make them super-sensitive to the smell of explosives such as TNT, the Mirror reported.
Experts said that because they are so light, they could be used to detect mines without setting them off.
They would be monitored with microchips and transmitters to enable them to be tracked from a safe distance.
The idea follows the success of a Belgian project in which giant African rats were trained to locate explosives then sit beside them making clicking sounds.
Tests revealed that two rats could clear a field almost twice the size of a two-tennis court in two hours - a task that would take two humans two days.
But while the rats take nine months to train, scientists are confident they can genetically programme mice to be ready for action from birth.
"Mice are cheaper to manage and easier to breed," Dr Charlotte D'Hulst, of City University of New York, said.
She believes they could be "in service" within five years. (ANI)