Animal use regulations on gene knockout lab animals

Gavin E. Black gavin at
Thu Aug 3 09:34:03 EST 1995

To: anyone with experience in dealing with animal use and welfare issues in a university setting:

	I serve on the IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Commitee) at my university which 
has to approve all the research protocols for the use of lab animals. During the disscussion of one 
of the proposals which called for the use of "Knockout" mice, (an inbred mouse strain with a mutation 
in a gene to make it nonfunctional) an interesting question arose. Although these animals can be 
purchased commercially, what happens if these animals were to be produced locally? What type of 
guidelines should be implemented for the production of "knockout" animals? Considering the likely
state of the animal containing the mutation, what should be the minimal charecteristics and abilities 
of the animal surviving with this introduced genetic change? Is it acceptable to have an animal produced 
will not be ambulatory, or to adequately care for itself (eat, drink, etc;)?
	If there is anyone who either is on, or deals with a commitee which has had to set up simmilar
guidelines, I would appreciate any information on how it was handled. This has not an issue that
has become an urgency here since this type of work isn't currently being done, it is for future 
reference. I personally try and avoid implementing too many unnecessary resrictions on research if 
possible (times are tough enough without them). This issue, however, has caught my eye and needs some 
careful consideration in light of the pressure that is often applied to academic institutions over the 
use of animals in research. 
	It would be appreciated if your responses could be posted in this newsgroup, (since I wasn't
sure where else to put it). I realize that this is a sensitive subject, and people might be reluctant
to respond in a public forum, so I have therfore included my email address. Thank you for any help 
in addressing this somewhat sensitive issue.

David Wunschel
Wunschel at

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