Larson, M. A. 2020. Alternatives to shipping live mice. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 8(5) (September/October), 52-54.
Many in the lab animal field are familiar with shipping animals from vendor to investigator, from investigator to vendor, and from investigator to investigator. Sharing mouse models represents being good stewards of our animal resources and prevents unnecessary duplication of effort in generating new gene-modified mice. However, shipping live animals has its risks and requirements – requirements for good weather for transportation and quarantine or rederivation upon arrival, plus the risk of animals dying in transit or transmitting pathogens to our resident colonies. So, allow me, please, to present some alternatives that may save time, money, and the stress of shipping live mice! Talk to your Animal Facility and local Transgenic Facility before you next request transfer of animals. Many mouse repositories provide the option of ordering sperm and/or embryos, and likely your Transgenic Facility is capable of the IVF and certainly the embryo transfer required to reanimate your strain of interest. If sharing lines between academic institutions, there are protocols for the dissection of epididymides for even the most inexperienced personnel, which will help you avoid the cost, risk, and quarantine associated with the transportation of live mice.