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Laboratory mouse identification and inventory control
Phone: (734) 647-3823
Phone: (734) 262-2805
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary: The laboratory mouse is an essential experimental resource for modern biomedical research. Scientists currently use hundreds of varieties and strains of mice, and generate over 10 million individual animals each year. Tens of millions of dollars of NIH funding annually support mouse model research, with millions directly allocated to the maintenance of animal colonies. Mouse identification and inventory control systems have not advanced to meet the existing demand. As a result, mice are often used inefficiently, with excess animals purchased, bred, and maintained. Of equal importance, undocumented, lost, or incorrectly identified animals can compromise valuable experiments. The proposed work will produce a low-cost, integrated inventory system for the continuous monitoring of individual research mice. Existing inventory control systems in retail stores, hospitals, and shipping firms readily track individual units in complex, dynamic environments. Consequently, an extensive engineering infrastructure for inventory system development is commercially available. The proposed system will address the requirements of mouse housing facilities, animal-handling staff, veterinarians, and research investigators. The system has three components: (1) machine-readable labels for individual animals that are permanent and inexpensive; (2) automated readers that are compatible with the animal handling environment and have low error rates; and (3) an inventory database and query structure compatible with animal facilities and research investigators. To demonstrate the feasibility of the system, the Phase I STTR will develop and test engineering solutions for components (1) and (2). Radio- and optical-detection ear tags and tail tags will be designed, constructed, and tested. Initial testing will use models of ear and tail tissue, followed by in vivo testing for long-term compatibility and stability. In parallel, tag readers will be built and tested. For both components, specific parameters are defined in consultation with the potential users. Relevance to public health: Laboratory animals serve as critical models of human health and disease in NIH research. The quality and efficient management of animal research influences programs across many NIH Institutes and Centers. Improvements in animal inventory are essential for the control and refinement of mouse research costs, as well as minimizing the number of animals that are produced and maintained.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *