Tag Archives: Laboratory Animal Science

Model pigs face messy path

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The three litters of Yucatan miniature piglets, born in late May, dwell in a space more like a neonatal care unit than a barn. They require hand-feeding and frequent veterinary attention from the staff at Exemplar Genetics in Sioux Center, Iowa. Their muscles already show the signs of deterioration that they were bred for. As […]

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Comfy mice lead to better science: Are cold mice affecting drug testing?

Nine out of 10 drugs successfully tested in mice and other animal models ultimately fail to work in people, and one reason may be traced back to a common fact of life for laboratory mice: they’re cold, according to a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Laboratory mice, who account for the vast […]

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Activists ground primate flights

Each year, thousands of macaques and other monkeys are flown into Europe and North America to supply academic and industrial research labs — more than 18,000 to the United States in 2011 alone. But in a campaign that could affect scientists across the West, the few major air carriers that still transport non-human primates are […]

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US researchers are concerned that revised guidelines that recommend a minimum size for breeding lab rodents’ cages will substantially increase the cost of animal work

The eighth edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, published last year by the US National Academies in Washington DC, is the first to recommend minimum cage sizes for female rats and mice and their litters. The guide recommends 330 square centimetres (51 square inches) of floor space for a […]

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Most chimp experiments unnecessary, says US panel

The US should be doing much less research on chimpanzees because new, alternative methods yield equally valid results, says a committee of the US Institute of Medicine in a report published this week. Only in the US and Gabon are experiments on chimps explicitly allowed. In the European Union, no experiments on great apes have […]

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Naked mole-rat genome: Scientists sequence DNA of cancer-resistant rodent

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Scientists at the University of Liverpool, in partnership with The Genome Analysis Centre, Norwich, have generated the first whole-genome sequencing data of the naked mole-rat, a rodent that is resistant to cancer and lives for more than 30 years. The naked mole-rat is native to the deserts of East Africa and has unique physical traits […]

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Mice with human livers deal with drugs the human way

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Mice metabolize some drugs differently than humans – unless they have a human liver. The unique physiology of the human liver means that the toxicity of some candidate drugs is not picked up during preclinical tests in animals. But mice implanted with miniature human livers can mimic the ways in which the human body breaks […]

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Mouse library set to be knockout

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Investigators are on the home stretch of the largest international biological research initiative since the Human Genome Project. Launched in 2006 in North America and Europe, the effort aims to disable each of the 20,000-odd genes in the mouse genome and make the resulting cell lines available to the scientific community. After five years and […]

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What is a laboratory mouse?

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Mice and humans share about 95 percent of their genes, and mice are recognized around the world as the leading experimental model for studying human biology and disease. But, says Jackson Laboratory Professor Gary Churchill, Ph.D., researchers can learn even more “now that we really know what a laboratory mouse is, genetically speaking.” Churchill and […]

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Non-lethal way of switching off essential genes in mice perfected

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One way of discovering a gene’s function is to switch it off and observe how the loss of its activity affects an organism. If a gene is essential for survival, however, then switching it off permanently will kill the organism before the gene’s function can be determined. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have […]

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Simple chemical cocktail shows first promise for limb re-growth in mammals

The mouse may join newts and salamanders as the only animals that can re-grow their own severed limbs. Researchers are reporting that a simple chemical cocktail can coax mouse muscle fibers to become the kinds of cells found in the first stages of a regenerating limb. Their study, the first demonstration that mammal muscle can […]

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Bird embryo provides unique insights into development related to cancer and wound healing

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Avian embryos could join the list of model organisms used to study a specific type of cell migration called epiboly, thanks to the results of a study published this month in the journal Developmental Dynamics. The new study provides insights into the mechanisms of epiboly, a developmental process involving mass movement of cells as a […]

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Pig model of cystic fibrosis improves understanding of disease

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It’s been more than 20 years since scientists first discovered the gene that causes cystic fibrosis (CF), yet questions about how the mutated gene causes disease remain unanswered. Using a newly created pig model that genetically replicates the most common form of cystic fibrosis, University of Iowa researchers have now shown that the CF protein […]

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Researchers discover way to halt lung inflammation in animal models

Acute inflammation of the lung is a poorly recognized human disease that develops in surprising and unexpected ways. The acute lung injury (ALI) or adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a vital new concern for soldiers, but it can develop in anyone during a systemic infection, after severe trauma, as a result of bone fracture, […]

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New strain of ‘high-runner’ rats uniquely resistant to disease

Everybody knows that if you’re physically fit, you’re less likely to get a wide range of diseases. What most people don’t know is that some people are “naturally” in better shape than others, and this variation in conditioning makes it difficult to test for disease risk and drug effectiveness in animal models. A new research […]

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European research animal use holds steady

About 12 million animals were used for scientific purposes in the European Union (EU) during 2008, according to the latest statistics published by the European Commission (EC). The number is similar to that of 2005, when the last statistical report was published. But the figures mask the impact of the gradual introduction of alternatives for […]

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Getting a better grip on lab mice

Gentler ways of handling the rodents could keep them calm and reduce experimental variability. Picking up mice at the base of the tail is standard practice in laboratory research, but whether this is the best method is unclear. Researchers now suggest that cupping a mouse in the hand or carrying it in a small tunnel […]

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Saving the brain’s white matter with mutated mice

Vanishing White Matter (VWM) disease is a devastating condition that involves the destruction of brain myelin due to a mutation in a central factor. To understand the disease and test potential treatments that could apply to other disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Prof. Orna Elroy-Stein of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Cell Research and Immunology […]

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Intentional variation increases result validity in mouse testing

For decades, the traditional practice in animal testing has been standardization, but a study involving Purdue University has shown that adding as few as two controlled environmental variables to preclinical mice tests can greatly reduce costly false positives, the number of animals needed for testing and the cost of pharmaceutical trials. Joseph Garner, a Purdue […]

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Mouse with human liver: New model for treatment of liver disease

How do you study-and try to cure in the laboratory-an infection that only humans can get? A team led by Salk Institute researchers does it by generating a mouse with an almost completely human liver. This “humanized” mouse is susceptible to human liver infections and responds to human drug treatments, providing a new way to […]

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Blue light can activate walking behavior in genetically modified mice

Researchers at the medical university Karolinska Institutet have created a genetically modified mouse in which certain neurons can be activated by blue light. Shining blue light on brainstems or spinal cords isolated from these mice produces walking-like motor activity. The findings, which are published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, are of potential significance to […]

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New reagents available for genomic engineering of mouse models to understand human disease

The ability to specifically target and modify genes in the mouse allows researchers to use this small rodent to study how certain genes contribute to human disease. A common method used to make genetic changes in mice and cells is called site-specific recombination, where two DNA strands are exchanged. The two strands may contain very […]

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A Europe-led project could push the lab rat back into the spotlight

The European Commission has approved the world’s first major systems-biology programme to study the rat. Known as EURATRANS — for European large-scale functional genomics in the rat for translational research — the multimillion-euro project includes collaborators in the United States and Japan. The aim of the initiative is to expand databases of genes, proteins and […]

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How mice and humans differ immunologically

Edith Hessel and colleagues, at Dynavax Technologies Corporation, Berkeley, have identified the reason that humans and rodents respond differently to a molecule that is being developed to treat allergic diseases.Molecules that trigger the protein TLR9 are being developed as a potential therapeutic for allergic diseases. While they have been shown to be safe and well-tolerated […]

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Songbirds reveal how practice improves performance

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Learning complex skills like playing an instrument requires a sequence of movements that can take years to master. Last year, MIT neuroscientists reported that by studying the chirps of tiny songbirds, they were able to identify how two distinct brain circuits contribute to this type of trial-and-error learning in different stages of life. Now, the […]

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Severely memory-deficit mutant mouse created

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Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha (CaMKII alpha) is an enzyme that adds phosphates to a variety of protein substrates to modify their functions. CaMKII alpha is enriched in the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, and is believed to be an essential mediator of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity and memory functions. However, the causative role […]

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Pig stem cells bridge the mouse-human gap

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The discovery that adult skin cells can be ‘reprogrammed’ to behave like stem cells has been a major scientific boon, providing a way to tap the potential of embryonic stem cells without the associated ethical quandaries. Researchers have now created a line of such reprogrammed stem cells from adult pigs. As pigs are large animals […]

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Fluorescent puppy is world’s first transgenic dog

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A team led by Byeong-Chun Lee of Seoul National University in South Korea created the dogs by cloning fibroblast cells that express a red fluorescent gene produced by sea anemones. Lee and stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang were part of a team that created the first cloned dog, Snuppy, in 2005. Much of Hwang’s […]

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A macaque model of HIV infection

Researchers have taken a major step toward developing a better animal model of human AIDS. Such a model could greatly improve researchers’ ability to evaluate potential strategies for preventing and treating the disease. Researchers have lacked a reliable animal model in which to study HIV infection, because the virus replicates poorly in most other animals. […]

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Joy and anger over European animal-research vote

Researchers will be able to re-use animals in procedures causing up to “moderate” pain. Researchers have welcomed the alteration of controversial parts of draft European legislation on animal experimentation. The European Parliament’s agriculture committee voted yesterday to accept amendments to key provisions in a directive that will eventually set standards for all research on animals […]

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