Conditions in animal husbandry have a major impact on the welfare of laboratory animals. The aim of the funding call "Additional support for the 3Rs in animal husbandry" is therefore to support projects that further strengthen animal welfare beyond the legally required standards and minimum requirements. In an independent review process, a panel of three external reviewers has now selected two research projects for funding from the applications submitted.
The aim of the project "Alternative method for the use of PMSG in mice" is to establish an alternative for the use of a specific sex hormone used in the breeding of mice. The hormone Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG) is secreted by pregnant horses and stimulates ovarian function so that animals develop increased numbers of eggs. These, in turn, are needed for breeding genetically modified mouse strain and wild types.
However, since the extraction of PMSG involves considerable stress for the pregnant mares, it is important to test substitutes. While alternative substances have already been successfully used in pig breeding, there has been a lack of corresponding studies in mice to date. This is where the project of Dr. Geert Michel, Head of Transgenic Technologies at FEM, comes in. In cooperation with Prof. Christa Thöne-Reineke from the Institute of Animal Welfare, Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science at the Freie Universität Berlin, the project aims to investigate the efficacy of a synthetic analogue to PMSG for breeding mouse embryos.
The aim of the other project "Spreading activity based refinement for rats by a new cage concept and various tools" of the animal welfare officers Dr. Juliane Unger, Dr. Konstanze Grote and Dr. Anja Schulz is to develop new concepts for keeping rats. Rats have special demands on housing systems not only because of their body size. They also have a distinct play and exploration behavior and interact intensively with their social partners and with humans. At the same time, there is an increasing demand in research for animals that are kept for longer periods of time. This is because, as society ages demographically, age-related diseases are also on the rise. And in order to better counteract these, adult and older laboratory animals are needed.
Building on a previous project funded by Charité 3R, the applicants want to test further concepts for cage conversions and rapidly incorporate advances from the test phase into routine operations. In doing so, it is important for the three animal welfare officers to act in a sustainable manner and to provide varied options of individual choice for activity and rest by utilizing the new resources in a new housing concept. Likewise, compatibility with scientific protocols, good manageability and occupational safety in animal care must be ensured.
Projects will be funded with a total of 70,000 euros over a period of at least 12 months starting January 1, 2023.
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