Colony Management Solutions INSIGHTS

Cre/loxP Recombination System: Applications, Best Practices, and Breeding Strategies

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Site-specific recombinases represent one of the most versatile tools available to scientists engaged in the generation and use of genetically engineered models (GEMs). Chief among these is Cre recombinase, discovered in the P1 bacteriophage and named as such because it causes recombination (Cre) between specific DNA sequences referred to as loxP (locus of crossover (x) in P1) sites, each of which are 34 base pairs in length1....  Read More

Should You Breed or Buy Your Rodent Models?

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Many research investigators are faced with a decision: should they buy laboratory rodents from a commercial vendor or produce them from an in-house breeding colony? There are many factors to evaluate before the decision to "breed vs. buy" can be made. There are some situations in which you must breed your own mice or rats. The most common situation is use of a genetically engineered model (GEM)...  Read More

Controlling Aggression in Mice

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Mice can react to stress, boredom, and even each other by becoming aggressive towards their cagemates, damaging themselves and possibly skewing study endpoints. Here are three solid colony management techniques to try if you need to control aggression in mice: Avoid Introducing New Cagemates Mice are social and establish dominance rankings among themselves. If the mice establish social rankings when they are young, they are less prone...  Read More

Should You Have a Lab Animal Health Status or Standard?

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When considering animal health in your research or ordering mice from a commercial provider, which is more significant: a health status or a health standard? While the words "status" and "standard" seem similar, there are clear differences in their definitions and how you might apply each to a health monitoring, detection and reporting system. Let's start by defining our terms: Status — state or condition of affairs...  Read More

Methods of Animal Model Identification

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Animal identification is a vital element in any research project requiring the use of animal models. The identification of an animal may be the only link to essential data, such as sex, genotype, study parameters, and results. Animal identification systems also assist with breeding record keeping. In some cases, the success of your studies may depend on the type of animal identification method you choose. Accuracy of...  Read More

Acclimating Rodents to Automated Watering

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If your animal models fail to learn and use their new watering system, dehydration and death may follow. How can you help them adjust? Learning to Use Automated Watering Systems Several rodent suppliers prefer water bottles for their watering systems. The advantage of the water bottle is the sipper tube always has a drop of water on the tip, easily located by young rats and mice. When...  Read More

Rpe65 Variants Affect Vision in Animal Models

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Vision researchers are very familiar with several mutations which can affect sight in mice. Chang et al. cataloged 16 separate mutations causing retinal degeneration. Two of the better known mutations are Pde6brd1 (commonly called rd1) and Crb1rd8 (commonly called rd8). The rd1 mutation is present in a number of inbred strains, such as FVB and SJL, and causes blindness by weaning age. The rd8 mutation is present...  Read More

"Collaborative Research Organizations" Are Your New CRO

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Over the last two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has faced increasing challenges: declining R&D productivity, rising costs, competition from generics, greater regulatory complexity, and changing expectations of patient-centered healthcare. In response to these pressures, many companies are transforming the way in which medicines are discovered, developed, and brought to market. Two key trends are emerging: The proliferation of digital biotechs The externalization of drug development Contract Research...  Read More

Cryopreservation in Colony Management

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Use of genetically engineered rodent models in research requires the lines to be maintained in continuous breeding, which is costly, labor intensive, and takes up limited vivarium space. Also when such colonies are the sole source of the model, there is risk of losing the line altogether to unanticipated death, disease, infertility, genetic drift, or microbial contamination. Effective use of cryopreservation allows researchers to better utilize financial...  Read More

A Successful Breeding Plan in Five Steps

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"It's just breeding... right?" You may want to carry out large cohort studies within the next 4-6 months, or to quickly recover a cryopreserved line from your collaborator to cross with your own knockout line. How difficult can it be? The temptation of getting there fast may make you plunge into a new project right away. But early missteps in colony management can surface months into a...  Read More


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