Opossums are not generally what you think of when laboratory animals come to mind, however these animals are becoming more popular as models due to some unique traits. Newborn opossums can regenerate their spinal cords completely, with no effect on spinal function, up to 9-12 days after birth. If researchers can find out which genes are active during this process, they might be able to develop treatments for damage to spinal cords in people. Other traits include X-inactivation, which can play a roll in cancer research and since newborn pups are similiar to a 6 week old human fetus, organ development such as the brain, can be studied. So again I say….awesome opossums!