Lab mice do not have much value – except to the lab. Some are bred specifically for certain research categories; for example, their DNA may be prone to certain diseases and that will raise their cost. And, rederivation to correct the health status or mutations in a test group can add to the cost.
Still, research laboratories turn to mice to test vaccines, treatments, and therapies before they would think of testing on humans. So, if you want to control lab costs and improve the treatment of lab animals, it helps to identify the best practice in lab mouse identification.
Why worry about lab mouse identification.
All mice are not the same to lav researchers. It’s not an issue of personality, but age, size, gender, breeding, genetics, and therapies separate and distinguish them. And, research is a business of differentiation and testing. Confusion is the enemy of successful research.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Medical researchers use mice for numerous reasons. Mice are small, require little food or housing space, have consistent disease manifestations, have good-sized litters of offspring, are easy to handle, and can be readily shipped from breeding facilities to research locations.”
And, because there is significant similarity in mouse and human genetics, humans are relieved to let them experiment on mice. In very real terms, that makes them invaluable.
To keep things sound and ethical, the National Institute of Health has issued extensive guidelines on the treatment of lab mice and other animals. It has done so in collaboration with The National Academy of Sciences, The National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
Based on published data, scientific principles, and historic practices, the guidelines promote research that is consistent with high-quality research and humane animal care. And, for researchers and research institutions to succeed with funding and grants, they must meet or exceed the guidelines.
How to keep your mice straight
Research protocols and regulations want lab mice sorted, identified, and tracked throughout the process. And, in the past, they labs have resorted to unprofessional and painful identification methods.
Those methods have involved clipping, surgery, and tattooing when a simple mouse ear punch does the job better, efficiently, and effectively with less harm to the animal. RapID Tags, for example, affix a chip to the mouse’s ear like a pierced earring.
The chip is color-coded to easily identify the mouse by age, gender, test, or other category. And, the chip carries a simply scanned 2-D barcode which sends data to host study.
The RapID Tags are made of a polymer to prevent contamination and infection, insert through a punched hole, and remove for reuse. They present no problem for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or autoclave sterilization.
What’s the benefit?
Easy and error-free identification prevents administration of incorrect treatments and collection of incorrect measurements. This reduces the negative impact on research data and hidden costs of compromised work. Clear and decisive identification reduces labor costs because it eliminates wasted handling time.
The superior design and technology assures 100% accurate and automated data collecting. It does not deform or tax the mouse, require much training, or disturb the animals more than necessary.
These state-of-the-art ID tags facilitate animal care and the research value they provide.