Lab Mice Tagging
Lab mice are raised for experiments that benefits humans. But, did you know that labs don’t want healthy mice?
Labs spend big bucks for sick mice because it’s they carry the disease the experiments try to cure. So, they order mice with epilepsy, arthritis, or obesity. They come with diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or cancer.
Not only are the mice sick, but they are also sick in certain ways. Perhaps it is the term of the illness or the degree of the problem. Some are so lethargic, they could not fill out a timesheet if they had too. Breeders charge developing the rodents to fit the lab specifications in addition to their age, gender, and DNA.
Too expensive to get things wrong.
NBC News reported that labs can spend as much as $100,000 for a custom-built mouse. The report goes on, “Always a mainstay of scientific research, mice have become a critical tool in the quest for new drugs and medical treatments because their genes are remarkably similar to a person’s. With proper manipulation — either by man or nature — a set of mouse genes can produce an animal with just about any human ailment, or a reasonable facsimile of it.”
Some mice are repeatedly inbred to create genetically identical animals that become subjects for side-by-side studies. Others are bred to isolate them according color, type, weight, and prone to specific genetic anomalies.
Image via Wikimedia
How labs control their costs.
Lab researchers and their aides must identify the mice in ways they can monitor their progress.They need a convenient way to recognize the mice by gender, breed, and genealogy. And, they need a process to follow the mice through its experiment trials.
Many of the identification methods cause the mice pain or damage their readiness. Traditionally, labs have pierced the mice ears and inserted metal tags. They have also tattooed their body or tails and cut notches in their ears.
Such techniques damage the costly product, and because they are difficult to monitor, they jeopardize the entire experiment.
Modern technology enters the lab to keep the mice straight with revolutionary identification tags. Research labs learning how to tag lab mice see value in the cost-effective RapID Tags®.
These unique polymer tags insert easily and stay secure until removed easily for reuse. Each tag is color-coded to some criteria, and each tag sports a 2-D barcode for scanning into a database on the testing.
Research assistants can recognize them by color, handle them less, and track them accurately. They survive autoclave sterilization and MRI machines.
Labs need know their mice when they see them.
Image via Flickr
According to Remy Melina, writing in LiveScience, says,“Scientists and researchers rely on mice and rats for several reasons. One is convenience: rodents are small, easily housed and maintained, and adapt well to new surroundings. They also reproduce quickly and have a short lifespan of two to three years, so several generations of mice can be observed in a relatively short period of time.”
As important, they resemble humans. That is, mice are mammals that mimic human systems and processes. And, when specifically bred, those systems can duplicate human physiological and biochemical behaviors.
So, it just makes great good sense to manage lab mice gently and smartly. When technology comes to the lab, it serves the research and the humans who benefit from the improved and cost-effective medications developed.
Laboratories across the country must follow the many guidelines and ground rules on handling and treating laboratory animals. Their funding grants and authorize to practice depend on it. Finding new, convenient, and humane ways to identify the lab subjects becomes even more important.