Welfare Implications of Standardised Protocols for Phenotyping and Genotyping Genetically Altered Mice

Nirmala Bhogal and Michelle Scrivens

Phenotype-driven mouse mutagenesis programmes are widely advocated as a means of assigning functions to human genes. These programmes often give rise to a number of animal welfare concerns, not least the large numbers of animals that are used. Here, we consider how the phenotyping screens used in all such programmes can be improved, with specific reference to the standard phenotyping procedures described by the European Mouse Phenotyping Resource of Standardised Screens (EMPReSS). Although we commend the efforts of the Consortium in developing standardised screens for phenotyping, animal welfare should take precedence over technical ease and the cost implications of the research. A number of recommendations are made that could reduce the suffering of the mice used in such studies. These include the use of minimally invasive practices, reduced sample sizes, and combining the assays used in such studies.
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