CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology is developing this animal as a model for human diseases, due to the tree shrew’s cheaper cost, smaller size, faster reproduction and high brain-to-body mass ratio. To date, the tree shrew model has been used in research on hepatitis, myopia, aging, and depression. Last year, researchers at the Kunming institute published the first high-quality tree shrew reference genome. This year, YAO Yonggang’s team has launched the world’s first Tree Shrew Database to provide access to the most current tree shrew data.
CAS news release, Jan. 4, 2015