The Laboratory Mouse (HANDBOOK OF EXPERIMENTAL ANIMALS)

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  1. Browse content
  2. The Laboratory Mouse
  3. News Feature: What happens when lab animals go wild
  4. Chapter 1 - The Laboratory Mouse

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Mice are mammals of the clade a group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants Euarchontoglires , which means they are amongst the closest non- primate relatives of humans along with lagomorphs , treeshrews , and flying lemurs. Laboratory mice are the same species as the house mouse , however, they are often very different in behaviour and physiology. There are hundreds of established inbred , outbred , and transgenic strains. A strain , in reference to rodents, is a group in which all members are as nearly as possible genetically identical. In laboratory mice, this is accomplished through inbreeding.


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By having this type of population, it is possible to conduct experiments on the roles of genes, or conduct experiments that exclude genetic variation as a factor. In contrast, outbred populations are used when identical genotypes are unnecessary or a population with genetic variation is required, and are usually referred to as stocks rather than strains. Most laboratory mice are hybrids of different subspecies, most commonly of Mus musculus domesticus and Mus musculus musculus.


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  8. Laboratory mice can have a variety of coat colours, including agouti, black and albino. Many but not all laboratory strains are inbred. The first such inbred strains were produced in by Clarence Cook Little , who was influential in promoting the mouse as a laboratory organism. This was only the second mammalian genome to be sequenced after humans. Estimating the number of genes contained in the mouse genome is difficult, in part because the definition of a gene is still being debated and extended. The current count of primary coding genes in the laboratory mouse is 23, Various mutant strains of mice have been created by a number of methods.

    A small selection from the many available strains includes -. Since , it has been possible to clone mice from cells derived from adult animals. Laboratory mice have retained many of the physical and behavioural characteristics of house mice, however, due to many generations of artificial selection some of these characteristics now vary markedly.

    The Laboratory Mouse

    Due to the large number of strains of laboratory mice, it is impractical to comprehensively describe the appearance and behaviour of all these, however, they are described below for two of the most commonly used strains. Both hair and vibrissae may be removed. Barbering is more frequently seen in female mice; male mice are more likely to display dominance through fighting. It is more susceptible than average to morphine addiction , atherosclerosis , and age-related hearing loss.

    Traditionally, laboratory mice have been picked up by the base of the tail. However, recent research has shown that this type of handling increases anxiety and aversive behaviour. In behavioural tests, tail-handled mice show less willingness to explore and to investigate test stimuli, as opposed to tunnel-handled mice which readily explore and show robust responses to test stimuli. In nature, mice are usually herbivores , consuming a wide range of fruit or grain. Routes of administration of injections in laboratory mice are mainly subcutaneous , intraperitoneal and intravenous.


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    4. Intramuscular administration is not recommended due to small muscle mass. Each route has a recommended injection site, approximate needle gauge and recommended maximum injected volume at a single time at one site, as given in the table below:. To facilitate intravenous injection into the tail, laboratory mice can be carefully warmed under heat lamps to vasodilate the vessels.

      Approved procedures for euthanasia of laboratory mice include compressed CO 2 gas, injectable barbiturate anesthetics , inhalable anesthetics, such as Halothane, and physical methods, such as cervical dislocation and decapitation. A recent study detected a murine astrovirus in laboratory mice held at more than half of the US and Japanese institutes investigated. The pathogenicity of the murine astrovirus was not known. In the UK, as with all other vertebrates and some invertebrates, any scientific procedure which is likely to cause "pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm" is regulated by the Home Office under the Animals Scientific Procedures Act UK regulations are considered amongst the most comprehensive and rigorous in the world.

      Compliance with the PHS is required for a research project to receive federal funding.

      News Feature: What happens when lab animals go wild

      Many academic research institutes seek accreditation voluntarily, often through the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care , which maintains the standards of care found within The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the PHS policy. This accreditation is however not a prerequisite for federal funding, unlike the actual compliance. While mice are by far the most widely used animals in biomedical research, recent studies have highlighted their limitations.

      Regarding experiments on mice, some researchers have complained that "years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads" as a result of a preoccupation with the use of these animals in studies. An article in The Scientist notes, "The difficulties associated with using animal models for human disease result from the metabolic, anatomic, and cellular differences between humans and other creatures, but the problems go even deeper than that" including issues with the design and execution of the tests themselves.

      For example, researchers have found that many mice in laboratories are obese from excess food and minimal exercise which alters their physiology and drug metabolism. Some studies suggests that inadequate published data in animal testing may result in irreproducible research, with missing details about how experiments are done are omitted from published papers or differences in testing that may introduce bias.

      Examples of hidden bias include a study from McGill University which suggests that mice handled by men rather than women showed higher stress levels. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 29 July The Laboratory Mouse. Elsevier Science. November Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved 19 December The Economist. Retrieved 10 January Charles River Laboratories.

      August Little, cancer and inbred mice". Retrieved 19 November Bar Harbor, Maine: Jackson Laboratory.

      2nd Edition

      Cell Migration Gateway. CMC Activity Center. Comparative Medicine. Archived from the original PDF on Behavioural Brain Research. March Inbred Strains of Mice. Jackson Laboratory. Retrieved Jax Mice Data Sheet. Archived from the original on November 16, Archived from the original on 11 April Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Cell Genet. October Nature Methods. Scientific Reports. Archived from the original on 9 June Retrieved 8 April Basic Biomethodology for Laboratory Mice.

      Policy issues.

      Chapter 1 - The Laboratory Mouse

      Society of Biology. Retrieved 18 October Home Office UK. Well-illustrated, this dynamic second edition will find its place on the shelves of laboratories as the up-to-date resource for laboratory mice across the life sciences, medical and veterinary fields. Hans J. Hedrich is a professor at Hannover Medical School in Germany.

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      My copy will get extensive use. Researchers and students of the life science, medical and veterinary fields will find this book a necessary and useful tool.