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Phenotype characterization and welfare assessment of transgenic rodents (mice)

By C. Mertens, T. Rulicke

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Methods of transgenesis in vertebrate animals in the laboratory involve the stable addition or selective substitution of defined genes into the germline. Although there is a continuous and remarkable development in transgenic technology-the quality of transgenes, gene-targeting vectors, and experimental approaches-the consequences for the phenotype induced by this kind of experimental mutation cannot be completely predicted. This is especially true for the majority of transgenic animals who are generated by pronuclear injection. Randomly integrated foreign DNA may increase the risk of disturbing normal physiological processes, resulting in discomfort possibly crucial to the animals' welfare. Only a careful and comprehensive phenotype and welfare assessment can determine (a) whether apparent and relevant changes of phenotype (genetic burdens) occur and (b) how to deal with them in terms of the 3Rs (replace, reduce, refine). Two structured forms, data record and characterization, have been developed and are proposed for a routine characterization and assessment of newly generated transgenic rodents. Data record form and characterization operate, respectively, at individual (health monitoring) and strain levels (representative sample of individual life histories).

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 127-139
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705 (Print), 1532-7604 (Online)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0302_5
Language English
Author Address Zurcher Tierschutz (SPCA), Zurichbergstrasse 263, CH-8044, Zurich, Switzerland.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal genetics
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Assessment
  6. Biotechnology
  7. Characteristics
  8. Genetically engineered animals
  9. Genetically engineered organisms
  10. Genetically modified animals
  11. Genetically modified organisms
  12. Genetic engineering
  13. Genetic manipulation
  14. Laboratory and experimental animals
  15. Laboratory animal science
  16. Mammals
  17. Mice
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. phenotypes
  20. Rodents
  21. transgenics
  22. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed