A study addressing how location and sex can affect mouse models in scientific research authored by Sanford Research's David Pearce, PhD, appears in July's issue of Scientific Reports.
"Location- and sex-specific differences in weight and motor coordination in two commonly used mouse strains" focuses on the migration of Pearce's mouse colony from the University of Rochester (NY) to Sioux Falls after his move to Sanford Research in 2009. Pearce found the shift in environment caused changes in the weight, motor coordination and motor learning capability of mice. Additionally, those changes also varied between male and female mice.
Differences between Rochester and Sioux Falls included, for example, diet and slightly adjusted testing protocols. In general, the mice in Sioux Falls were heavier and slower than those in Rochester. Pearce's study reveals why scientists performing the same mouse-model research in two different labs may experience different outcomes.
"We have long thought that environmental factors can have an effect on behavioral experiments, which has caused us to wonder how well we can reproduce experiments in different settings," said Pearce, Sanford Research's vice president and chief operating officer. "In our move from Rochester to Sioux Falls, we found that many factors, including local diets and handling procedures, had a significant influence on how our mice models reacted."
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