Syrian hamsters have only recently been domesticated. All laboratory strains originated from three litter mates captured near Aleppo in Syria in 1930 (Adler, 1948), although additional animals were trapped in 1971 and are now becoming available for research (Silvers et al., 1975). The unusual response of Syrian hamsters to skin allografts has attracted considerable attention (e.g. Billingham et al., 1960; Hildeman and Walford, 1960). In many cases skin grafts between members of a closed (but not inbred) colony will survive indefinitely, although grafts between animals from different colonies may be rejected as vigorously as in other species. Skin graft acceptance is clearly not an indication that a hamster strain is fully inbred, as it is with most other species.
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