Archive for the ‘bioethics’ Category

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
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The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page. This updated reference document has been prepared by the FELASA working group on revision of guidelines for health monitoring of rodents and rabbits, formed by Michael Mähler (Convenor, GV-SOLAS), Marion Bérard (AFSTAL), Ricardo Feinstein (Scand-LAS), Alec Gallagher (LASA), Brunhilde Illgen-Wilcke (SGV), Kathleen Pritchett-Corning (AALAS) and Marcello Raspa (AISAL and ISTT Member). The previous and up-to-now current FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of rodents and rabbits had been published in 2002 (Nicklas et al. 2002, Laboratory Animals). Therefore this new document, released in 2014, substitutes and updates the previous guidelines reported 12 years ago.

As it is stated in the abstract of this updated 2014 FELASA recommendations document: “These recommendations are aimed at all breeders and users of laboratory mice, rats, Syrian hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits as well as diagnostic laboratories. They describe essential aspects of health monitoring, such as the choice of agents, selection of animals and tissues for testing, frequency of sampling, commonly used test methods, interpretation of results and health monitoring reporting“. FELASA and, in particular, the co-authors of this compelling updated recommendations for health monitoring of rodents and rabbits need to be praised for this work. This document will not only help and contribute to the desired harmonization of the health monitoring programmes across animal facilities but also it will provide important elements for the correct preparation and interpretation of Health Monitoring results.

Advertising the TT2014 meeting from your institutions: put one of these Posters!

Friday, February 28th, 2014
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12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 6-8 October 2014

12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 6-8 October 2014

The next ISTT meeting will be held in Europe this year. The 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014, organized by ISTT members Douglas Strathdee (chair), Peter Hohenstein and Bruce Whitelaw, and hosted by three Scottish research institutes and the University of Edinburgh: the Roslin Institute; the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. The TT2014 meeting will be followed by the 2-day hands-on workshop “An Introduction to Zebrafish Transgenesis“, on 8-10 October 2014.

An outstanding group of invited speakers have confirmed their participation at the TT2014 meeting. Abstract submissions and application for the ISTT registration awards (for ISTT members) deadlines merge on 30 June 2014. Early bird registration deadline at reduced fees is 31 July 2014. A number of submitted abstracts will be selected for oral presentation on topics including:

  • new technologies in transgenesis
  • pluripotential stem cells
  • targeted nucleases and genome editing
  • models of human disease
  • animal ethics and welfare
  • large-scale phenotyping initiatives
  • animal biotechnology
  • in vivo imaging
  • zebrafish models and transgenesis

Douglas Strathdee and his colleagues have prepared the following collection of eight Posters to advertise the TT2014 meeting, illustrated with beautiful Edinburgh pictures. Please, help us announcing and disseminating the TT2014 meeting by putting one or several of these Posters at your centres, institutions, facilities, departments, universities. The TT meeting is a unique forum occurring every 18 months where to discuss the latest technical developments and applications on animal transgenesis. This is a conference that can’t be missed by anyone interested in this subject! Thanks for helping us advertise the TT2014 meeting!

TT2014 Poster version 1

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TT2014 Poster version 1 (A4 format)
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TT2014 Poster version 8 (A4 format)
TT2014 Poster version 8 (A3 format)

A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River

A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River

The 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science, organized by Charles River, just closed in Strasbourg, France, after three days of interesting presentations and discussions at the intersection between animal welfare, animal experimentation, current guidelines and legislation, biomedical research from academia and industry and society perception on these topics. The Organizers should be praised for the selection and variety of topics, as well as for the smooth and pleasant running of the entire course, which included an enjoyable visit to an old typical cellar from the Alsace region along with a wine-testing Gala dinner.

Several ISTT members participated in this event, including organizers (Cyril Desvignes, Jean Cozzi), members of the steering committee (Johannes Wilbertz), invited speakers (Belén Pintado, Yann Herault, Ignacio Anegon, Lluís Montoliu), and participants (Marcello Raspa, Ferenc Erdelyi, Gabor Szabo,…) among other.

During this course, the recent EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used in research and its implication on the use of animals in biomedical research and policies throughout Europe was discussed, from different angles, by Magda Chlebus, Gill Fleetwood, Thierry Decelle, Patri Vergara and Belén Pintado. Topics covered included the new training courses and competencies to work with experimentation animals in Europe, the animal-welfare bodies and the current understanding of the 3R’s paradigm. Javier Guillén compared, side by side, the new EU Directive with the current Guide in the US and highlighted their many coincidences, suggesting that a combined use of both documents would be ideal for the adoption of successful animal care and use programs. Jan-Bas Prins, current president of FELASA, presented his view of the field of laboratory animal sciences, before the implementation of this new EU Directive, as an opportunity and a positive challenge to interface and exchange knowledge with many other players involved.

Health monitoring programs, rodent microbiologic surveillance, methods employed to detect all these pathogens robustly in laboratory animal facilities and the updated recommendations from FELASA, recently published in Laboratory Animals, were presented by William Shek, Guy Mulder, Stéphanie Durand and Axel Kornerup Hansen. Operational and technical aspects of animal facilities were discussed by Alberto Gobbi and Peter Dockx, whereas the issues related with occupational health and safety program evaluations were presented by Jann Hau.

Examples of the use of rodent animal models in biomedical research, in academia, by James Di Santo and Andrea Bertotti, as well as in the industry, by Joyce L. Young, were discussed. The importance of genetic quality in mouse research as well as the complexity of mouse genome and the impact of the genetic background on phenotypes was presented by Charles Miller and Lluís Montoliu, respectively. The procedures conducted at the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) as well as the challenges they encountered during the deployment of this impressively large enterprise were presented and discussed by Sara Wells and, by the local representative, Yann Herault, Director of the French Mouse Clinic, ICS, in Strasbourg, who delivered the closing talk.

The newest technologies in stem cell biology and animal transgenesis were also present at this 7th Short Course. Hongkui Deng summarized the most innovative approach he devised to prepare induced-pluripotent cells from somatic cells, using a cocktail of four chemicals, four molecules that mimicked the induction signals described by Shinya Yamanaka. The new logics for the production of targeted genetic modifications, using editing or engineered nucleases (Meganuclease, ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs) in mice and rats was presented by Ralf Kuehn and Ignacio Anegon, respectively.

The choice of rodent anaestesia protocols was discussed by Aurelie Thomas, whereas the various methods for euthanasia in rodents were presented by Huw Golledge. On the last day, Aurora Bronstad summarized the work done at the AALAS-FELASA joint working group on harm-benefit analysis, whereas Katrina Gore highlighted the need for more robust analytical procedures in research protocols involving animal experimentation, in order to optimize the rate of success of pre-clinical drugs.

In summary, the 7th Edition of this biennial Charles River Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Europe, attended by some 120 participants, was an excellent opportunity to update information related to animal welfare, EU legislation and transposition difficulties in various countries, newest technologies, mouse genomics and genetics, large mouse consortia and numerous important topics that are relevant for animal facility managers, researchers, veterinarians and anyone else interested in the best use of animals in experiments, according to current laws and recommendations.

Updated scientific and workshop programmes for the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh

Friday, January 10th, 2014
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Upades scientific and workshop programmes for TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: Please, register today!.

Upades scientific and workshop programmes for TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: Please, register today!.

The scientific and zebrafish transgenesis hands-on workshop programmes prepared for the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, to be held in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), on October 6-8 (workshop on October 8-10) 2014,  have been recently updated by the Organizers, chaired by Douglas Strathdee (Glasgow, UK). These rewarding updates further increased the already high quality and interest for this popular conference series, promoted from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT), the most important forum where to discuss the state-of-art of animal transgenic technology, to share new developments, to review the deployment of the new methods that have recently being devised and, in summary, an excellent arena where to easily meet, face-to-face, the most relevant key-players in the field while providing a wonderful excuse to gather and ex-change experiences with the entire ISTT family of members.

The updated list of confirmed invited speakers attending the TT2014 meeting (6-8 October 2014) includes:

  • David Adams, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Ignacio Anegon, Center for Research in Transplantation and Immunology, Nantes, France
  • James Bussell, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Ian Chalmers, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Stephen Ekker, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  • Anna-Katerina Hadjatonakis, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA
  • Peter Hohenstein, The Roslin Institute and Royal Dick School of Vetinary Studies & MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center Cambridge, USA
  • Jos Jonkers, Division of Molecular Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Keith Joung, Molecular Pathology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA
  • Alexandra Joyner, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA
  • Koichi Kawakami, Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Michael McGrew, Division of Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute and Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Daniel J Murphy, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Glasgow, UK
  • James Murray, Department of Animal Science and Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis, California, USA
  • Stephen Murray, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
  • Lluis Montoliu, ISTT President, Organising Committee, National Center of Biotechnology (CNB), CSIC, Madrid, Spain
  • Vasilis Ntziachristos, Technische Universität Mu?nchen, Munich, Germany
  • Elizabeth Patton, MRC Human Genetics Unit & MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Pawel Pelczar, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Jan-Bas Prins, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands
  • Janet Rossant, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (ISTT Prize)
  • Angelika Schnieke, Livestock Biotechnology, WZW Center of Life Science, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany
  • Kai Schönig, Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
  • William Skarnes, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Austin Smith, Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • Francis Stewart, Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden, Germany
  • Sara Wells, MRC Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
  • Jacqueline White, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge UK

The updated list of confirmed invited speakers & instructors attending the hands-on zebrafish transgenesis workshop taking place immediately after the TT2014 meeting (8-10 October 2014) includes:

  • Liz Patton, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, The University of Edinburgh
  • Carl Tucker, Biomedical Research Resources, The University of Edinburgh
  • Tim Czopka, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Koichi Kawakami, Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Stephen Ekker, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  • Keith Joung, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Henry Roehl, Department of Biomedical Science, The University of Sheffield
  • Robert Kelsh, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Department of Biology and Biochemistry, The University of Bath
  • Martin Denvir, The University of Edinburgh/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Lyons, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Dirk Seiger, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Karthikeyani Paranthaman, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, The University of Edinburgh

Abstracts: All TT2014 participants are encouraged to submit their work as an abstract for poster presentation at the TT2014 meeting. Abstracts should be submitted no later than June 30, 2014. Accepted abstracts will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated. A limited number of abstract submissions will be selected and invited to present their findings in the form of a short oral presentation within the main meeting program. Abstracts are invited on all aspects of Transgenic Technologies, including the conference themes as listed below:

  • New technologies in animal transgenesis
  • Embryo stem cells
  • Target nucleases or Editing nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs)
  • Large-scale phenotyping
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Imaging with transgenic animals
  • Mouse models of human disease
  • Zebrafish models of human disease and transgenesis
  • Animal ethics and welfare

Registration for both the TT2014 meeting and the zebrafish transgenesis workshop are OPEN. Registration for the TT2014 meetings starts at 265 UK Pounds for technician/student ISTT members and progressively increases for the rest of categories of delegates. ISTT members are always entitled to reduced registration fees. Registration for the zebrafish transgenesis workshop is independent, with an extra cost of 275 UK Pounds , and only open to delegates that have also registered to attend the TT2014 meeting. The early bird reduced registration fees are operative until July 31, 2014. Thereafter, registration will be progressively become more expensive. Hence,  please register by July 31, 2014 to benefit from reduced registration fees.

ISTT Registration Awards: Application to ISTT registration awards for the TT2014 meeting is OPEN. A minimum of six registration awards for ISTT members will be sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT). Applications should be sent, along with the registration confirmation and the requested additional documents to istt@transtechsociety.org by June 30, 2014. The ISTT will pay the Registration Fee of all applicants selected for an award. Please note that applicants not selected for an award are required to pay the coresponding registration fee. Please note the Award covers registration fees and attendance at all social events, however, does not cover travel, accommodation expenses or attendance at pre meeting events. Award decisions will be communicated by July 15, 2014 and awardees will receive a diploma at the TT2014 Meeting. Deadline for submitting application for ISTT Registration Awards for TT2014: 30 June 2014. Registration Award decisions will be communicated by 15 July 2014.

Looking forward to meeting you all in Edinburgh!

 

7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg (France), on 12-14 February 2014

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
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7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg (France), on 12-14 February 2014

7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg (France), on 12-14 February 2014

Charles River announces the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, France, on 12-14 February 2014. This Short Course is designed to inform the biomedical research community of current trends and technological advances in the field of laboratory animal science through lectures from international guest speakers and members of Charles River’s professional Staff. A number of ISTT members are included among the invited teachers at this course.

The full list of speakers includes: Magda Chlebus (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, Belgium), Gill Fleetwood (GlaxoSmithKline, United Kingdom), Sara Wells (Mary Lyon Centre, United Kingdom), Hongkui Deng (Peking University, College of Life Science, China), Javier Guillen (AAALAC International, Spain), Thierry Decelle (Sanofi Pasteur, France), William R. Shek (Research Animal Diagnostic Services, Charles River, USA), Guy Mulder (Senior Director Veterinary and Professional Services, Charles River, USA), Patri Vergara (University Autonomous of Barcelona, Spain), Belen Pintado (Transgenic Unit CNB-CBMSO, CSIC, Spain), Stéphanie Durand (Research Animal Diagnostic Services, Charles River, USA), Axel Kornerup Hansen (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Lluis Montoliu (National Centre for Biotechnology, CNB-CSIC, Spain), Ralph Kuehn (Institute of Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany), Ignacio Anegon (INSERM UMR 1064 -Center for Research in Transplantation and Immunology and Platform Transgenic Rats ImmunoPhenomic Nantes, France), Jan-Bas Prins (Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands), Joyce L. Young (Crescendo Biologics Ltd, United Kingdom), Charles Miller (The Jackson Laboratory, USA), James Di Santo (Innate Immunity Unit, Inserm U668, Institut Pasteur, France), Andrea Bertotti (University of Torino School of Medicine, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Italy), Aurelie Thomas (University of Newcastle – Comparative Biology Centre – Medical School, United Kingdom), Huw Golledge (Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, United Kingdom), Alberto Gobbi (Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology and COGENTECH S.C.A.R.L., Italy), Peter Dockx (Van Looy Group, Belgium), Aurora BrØnstad (University of Bergen, Norway), Jann Hau (University and University Hospitals of Copenhagen, Denmark), Katrina Gore (Pfizer Neusentis, United Kingdom), Yann Herault (Institut Clinique de la Souris-ICS, France).

All attendees receive a certificate of attendance for their course hours which they may submit for Continuing Professional Education Credits.

Instructions and registration details are provided in this EU Short Course brochure.

Cell-permeable Cre recombinase for rapid conversion of EUCOMM/KOMP-CSD alleles

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
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Rapid conversion of EUCOMM/KOMP-CSD alleles in mouse embryos using a cell-permeable Cre recombinase. (Figure 1 from Ryder, Doe et al. Transgenic Research, 2013 Nov 7. DOI: 10.1007/s11248-013-9764-x)

Rapid conversion of EUCOMM/KOMP-CSD alleles in mouse embryos using a cell-permeable Cre recombinase. (Figure 1 from Ryder, Doe et al. Transgenic Research, 2013 Nov 7. DOI: 10.1007/s11248-013-9764-x)

Our colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK, most of them ISTT members, have just published a very interesting paper in Transgenic Research, the scientific journal associated with the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT),  describing the use of a cell-permeable Cre recombinase for the rapid conversion of EUCOMM/KOMP-CSD alleles directly in mouse embryos, hence avoiding the traditional breeding of mice produced with the original tm1a alleles with Cre-transgenic mouse lines to produce non-conditional knockout alleles (tm1b allele). This innovative procedure saves time, money, and, most importantly, many animals, thus contributing to animal welfare.

Rapid conversion of EUCOMM/KOMP-CSD alleles in mouse embryos using a cell-permeable Cre recombinase.
Ryder E, Doe B, Gleeson D, Houghton R, Dalvi P, Grau E, Habib B, Miklejewska E, Newman S, Sethi D, Sinclair C, Vyas S, Wardle-Jones H; Sanger Mouse Genetics Project, Bottomley J, Bussell J, Galli A, Salisbury J, Ramirez-Solis R.
Transgenic Res. 2013 Nov 7

The TT2014 meeting web page has been launched: REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
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The TT2014 meeting web site has been launched. REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

The TT2014 meeting web site has been launched. REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

Today, the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting web site has been launched. And meeting registration is already open!. The TT2014 meeting is organized by ISTT members Douglas Strathdee-chair, Peter Hohenstein and Bruce Whitelaw and will be held at The Assembly Rooms, in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014. Immediately following the TT2014 meeting, on October 9-10, 2014, there will be a hands-on practical workshop called ‘An Introduction to Zebrafish Transgenesis‘ which will focus on Zebrafish.  Further details about this practical workshop will be announced at the TT2014 meeting web site.

The meeting is hosted by three world-class Scottish research institutes and the University of Edinburgh: the Roslin Institute; the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. All three Institutes are world-renowned for producing top quality science at the forefront of biomedical research. The TT meeting visits the UK for the first time following the previous TT meetings in Guangzhou, China (TT2013); Florida, USA (TT2011); Berlin, Germany (TT2010); Toronto, Canada (TT2008); Brisbane, Australia (TT2007) and Barcelona, Spain (TT2005). This will be the 12th meeting in the series, originally pioneered by Johannes Wilbertz (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden) in 1999. Since the foundation of the ISTT in 2006, the TT meetings have been the main event sponsored by the Society.

The following speakers have confirmed their participation at the TT2014 meeting:

  • David Adams, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge UK
  • Ignacio Anegon, Center for Research in Transplantation and Immunology, Nantes, France
  • Stephen Ekker, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  • Kat Hadjatonakis, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA
  • Coenraad Hendriksen, Institute for Translational Vaccinology, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center Cambridge, USA
  • Jos Jonkers, Division of Molecular Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Keith Joung, Molecular Pathology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA
  • Alex Joyner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA
  • Koichi Kawakami, Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Jim Murray, Department of Animal Science and Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis, California, USA
  • Stephen Murray, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
  • Lluis Montoliu, ISTT President, Organising Committee, National Center of Biotechnology (CNB), CSIC, Madrid, Spain
  • Vasilis Ntziachristos, Technische Universität Mu?nchen, Munich, Germany
  • Pawel Pelczar, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Janet Rossant, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Angelika Schnieke, Livestock Biotechnology, WZW Center of Life Science, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany
  • Kai Schönig, Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
  • Austin Smith, Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • Sara Wells, MRC Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
  • Jacqui White, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge UK

At the TT2014 meeting, the ISTT will be awarding the 10th ISTT Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of transgenic technologies to Prof. Janet Rossant (The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada). The ISTT Prize is generously sponsored by genOway.

At the TT2014 meeting, the ISTT will be also awarding the 3rd ISTT Young Investigator Award, generously sponsored by inGenious Targeting Laboratory. The ISTT Young Investigator Award recognizes outstanding achievements by a young scientist who will keep the field of transgenic technologies vibrant with new ideas and who has recently received his or her advanced professional degree.

At the TT2014 meeting, and for the first time, the ISTT Best Poster Awards, traditionally awarded to the best posters presented at the corresponding TT meeting, will be generously sponsored by Charles River.

Accepted abstracts submitted for the TT2014 meeting, will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated.

A minimum of six registration awards for ISTT members will be sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies. Applications should be sent, along with the registration document to istt@transtechsociety.org by June 30, 2014. Award decisions will be communicated by July 15, 2014 and awardees will receive a diploma at the TT2014 Meeting.

Important deadlines:

  • Abstract submission deadline June 30, 2014
  • Application for ISTT registration awards deadline June 30, 2014
  • Awards to be communicated by July 15, 2014
  • Early Bird registration fee deadline July 31, 2014
  • Standard Rate registration fee from August 1, 2014
  • Late & On-Site Rate registration fee from September 22, 2014

As it is stated in the TT2014 meeting home page: “Scotland prides itself on both its life science research and the warm welcome given to visitors and looks forward to hosting TT2014“. Therefore, on behalf of the ISTT and of the TT2014 Organising Committee we invite you all to attend to the TT2014 meeting.

See you all in Edinburgh!

The ISTT is attending the 64th AALAS National Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA

Monday, October 28th, 2013
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ISTT booth: The ISTT is attending the 64th AALAS National Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA

ISTT booth: The ISTT is attending the 64th AALAS National Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is pleased to attend, once again, the annual (64th) AALAS National Meeting, being held this time in Baltimore, MD, USA, on October 27-31, 2013.  The ISTT booth has been organized by Melissa Larson (University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA) ISTT member and official representative of the ISTT before AALAS. The ISTT is proud to be an AALAS Affiliate Organizations since 2009, and, since then, our Society has been attending and supporting all AALAS annual meetings organized. ISTT members Jan Parker-Thornburg (MDACC, Houston, TX, USA) and Aimee Stablewski (Roswell Park Res. Center, Buffalo, NY, USA) are helping Melissa to organize and run this Society’s booth.

If you are attending the AALAS meeting in Baltimore, please come by to visit us and bring us your colleagues who might be interested in joining our Society. As an exceptional end of year 2013 promotion, any new member joining now will be provided immediate ISTT member benefits and granted 2014 ISTT membership. Information regarding ISTT activities, ISTT membership benefits and conditions and regarding our next (12th) Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2014), to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on October 6-8, 2014 will be provided at the ISTT booth. Thanks for visiting us at the 64th AALAS national meeting in Baltimore!

Workshop report: animals bred, but not used in experiments

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
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Workshop:  “Animals bred, but not used in experiments”, October 18-20, 2013, Hotel Duin & Kruidberg, Santpoort, the Netherlands (Picture kindly provided by Fernando Benavides)

Workshop: “Animals bred, but not used in experiments”, October 18-20, 2013, Hotel Duin & Kruidberg, Santpoort, the Netherlands (Picture kindly provided by Fernando Benavides)

Workshop: “Animals bred, but not used in experiments”, October 18-20, 2013, Hotel Duin & Kruidberg, Santpoort, the Netherlands.

Experiments in biomedical science use large numbers of laboratory animals. It is a fact that to provide these animals, regularly more animals are bred than are finally used in the experiments planned. The Ministry of Economic Affairs as the competent body of the Netherlands had asked Prof. Coenraad Hendriksen and Dr. Jan-Bas Prins to organize a workshop to identify the reasons for the breeding of surplus animals and to devise recommendations as to how the number of animals that are bred but not used can be reduced to a minimum.

A number of experts from different fields of laboratory animal science were invited for a two day workshop to the Hotel Duin & Kruidberg in Santpoort, a town close to Amsterdam, to discuss these issues and to develop a paper for the Dutch authorities. Obviously, many of the laboratory animals bred are genetically altered (GA) animals. Moreover, techniques to cryopreserve GA animal lines could be a means to reduce the number of animals that are bred. The invitation was therefore extended to the ISTT to send a representative to take part in this workshop.

Here, I will give a short summary of the topics that have been discussed and of the outcomes. However, I refer you to the final report of the workshop, parts of which have been developed within individual small workgroups and will be put together into a final document by the kind efforts of Coenraad and Jan-Bas. I will inform you immediately upon the publication of this report.

A topic central to the discussion was the identification of reasons for the production of animals that are then not used in experiments. A major reason for this is the production of unwanted sexes and unwanted genotypes. The participants agreed that good planning can considerably reduce the number of surplus animals. At the same time, resources can be saved and either used for additional experiments or for cost reduction. However, breeding schemes with multiple alleles, as well as the organization of a facility, can be complex. A strong need for counseling as well as education of users of laboratory animals was identified, to make them competent to plan accordingly. The centralization of the breeding colonies under the responsibility of the facility management was discussed as a possibility to streamline breeding strategies. On the other hand, for the time being, this does not seem to be feasible for very many facilities. Local Animal Welfare Committees should evaluate local SOPs and develop a catalogue of best practices to help keep surplus animals to a minimum. GA animal lines should be cryopreserved immediately after their creation when there is no need to breed extra animals for this purpose and when animals from test rederivations can be used for experiments or for the breeding colony. Thereby, the lines are protected from disaster and from genetic drift at the same time, live mice can be terminated at any time, and the lines can be easily shipped to collaborators. Lines should be made available to collaborators as early as possibly to avoid generating the same line at different places. In case expertise for cryopreservation is lacking, lines can be donated to repositories like EMMA where they are cryopreserved free of charge. Investigators should always consider sharing lines with the scientific community through such repositories.

A second important topic discussed during the workshop was the use of new technologies for the generation of GA animals as well as for their experimental analysis. New lines should be directly generated on the desired background. In case backcrossing is needed, speed congenic strategies should be used to reduce the number of animals needed during that process. Technologies utilizing the targeting of nucleases to the locus of interest (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPER/Cas9) promise to eventually allow the generation of GA lines with reduced numbers of animals directly on the desired background. Complex strategies for the generation of customized animals for specific experiments were presented. It was agreed that these should be freely available. However, individual scientists and institutes should evaluate whether it is worth adopting a new and complicated technique. Since the process of setting up complex protocols may well lead to the use of high numbers of animals, investigators should consider collaborating with colleagues who perform similar experiments at large scales.

Ethical considerations let us come to the understanding that there is an intrinsic value of life. We found that it is for this reason that it is morally wrong to kill more animals than absolutely necessary. Biomedical science is tasked with producing answers to pressing questions on the molecular functions of life and disease and finding new cures. It was pointed out that the principles of the 3R’s have to be respected at all times, but a number of animal experiments are indispensable. In this context, it is unavoidable to breed animals that are not used for these experiments, but it is important to ensure that their numbers are kept to a minimum.

Boris Jerchow
Member of ISTT’s Executive Council
October 23, 2013

List of participants and affiliations, excluding those who were unable to send permission for disclosure:

van der Broek, Frank, NVWA, The Netherlands; Aleström, Peter, The Norwegian Zebrafish Platform, Norway; Benavides, Fernando, University of Texas, USA*; Bussell, James, Wellcom Trust Sanger Institute, UK*; Chrobot, Nichola, MRC Harwell, UK; van Es, Johan, Hubrecht University, The Netherlands; Fentener van Vlissingen, Martje, Erasmus MC, The Netherlands; Hendriksen, Coenraad, InTraVacc, The Netherlands; Hohenstein, Peter, Roslin Intitute, UK*; Krimpenfort, Paul, NKI, The Netherlands; Morton, David, UK; Prins, Jan-Bas, LUMC, The Netherlands; Raspa, Marcello, EMMA, Italy*; Tramper, Ronno, Consultant, The Netherlands; van der Valk, Jan, NKCA; Wilbertz, Johannes, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden*; Ohl, Frauke, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Pool, Chris, KNAW, The Netherlands; Witler, Lars, Max-Planck Institute Mol. Gen., Berlin, Germany*.

* ISTT members

Workshop: “Animals bred, but not used in experiments”, October 18-20, 2013, Hotel Duin & Kruidberg, Santpoort, the Netherlands (Picture kindly provided by Fernando Benavides)

Workshop: “Animals bred, but not used in experiments”, October 18-20, 2013, Hotel Duin & Kruidberg, Santpoort, the Netherlands (Picture kindly provided by Fernando Benavides)

CARD-CNB Cryopreservation Course Report

Monday, October 14th, 2013
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Organizers, instructors, lecturers and participants at the CARD-CNB Cryopreservation Course, held at CNB-CSIC in Madrid, Spain, on 7-11 October 2013 and organized by Naomi Nakagata (CARD-University of Kumamoto, Japan) and Lluis Montoliu (CNB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain)

Organizers, instructors, lecturers and participants at the CARD-CNB Cryopreservation Course, held at CNB-CSIC in Madrid, Spain, on 7-11 October 2013 and organized by Naomi Nakagata (CARD-University of Kumamoto, Japan) and Lluis Montoliu (CNB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain)

This past week, 7-11 October 2013, the CARD-CNB Mouse Sperm and Embryo Cryopreservation Course was held at CNB-CSIC, in Madrid, Spain, with great success and accompanied with also great sunny weather. This was the first cryopreservation course of this kind, co-organized by Naomi Nakagata (CARD-University of Kumamoto, Japan) and Lluis Montoliu (CNB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain), were the newest methods developed by CARD, at the Nakagata lab, were demonstrated in Europe, directly by the CARD team. The instructors at this CARD-CNB course were commanded by the CARD-University of Kumamoto team, from Japan (Toru Takeo, Kiyoko Fukumoto, Tomoko Kondo, Yukie Haruguchi, Yumi Takeshita, Yuko Nakamuta and Shuuji Tsuchiyama), and additional help and collaboration was provided from the Mouse Biology Program at UC-Davis, CA, USA (Kristy Kinchen), from INIA, Madrid, Spain (Raúl Fernández), from CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain (Jesús Martínez), from USA (Jorge Sztein), from Paratechs, Lexington, KY, USA (Barbara Stone) and from CNB-CSIC (Julia Fernández, María Jesús del Hierro, Marta Castrillo and Isabel Martín-Dorado), for several of the methods demonstrated. All instructors must to be praised for their deep knowledge, patience and extraordinary dedication and commitment towards the success of this course. Complementary and most interesting lectures were provided on a wide variety of topics related to the course main focus, including: animal welfare and regulations by Belén Pintado and Jorge Guillén; the history, fundaments and comparison of methods by Jorge Sztein; the effects of the in vitro culture of mouse embryos by Alfonso Gutiérrez-Adán; safety and handling issues of liquid nitrogen by Jesús Martínez; shipping frozen and refrigerated materials by Toru Takeo, databases in a cryopreservation lab, by Shuuji Tsuchiyama, about EMMA by Lluis Montoliu and CARD by Naomi Nakagata, as examples of mouse embryo and sperm archives, and, also, on the new editing nucleases for genome modification, by Kai Schönig (Mannheim, Germany), a talk sponsored by Sigma.

As many as 24 participants, coming from research institutions or companies located in 16 countries around the world (UK, Spain, Australia, USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Brazil, Finland, France, Denmark, Israel, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and Taiwan) were presented with the latest advances in mouse sperm and embryo cryopreservation and all associated mouse reproductive biology ancillary techniques.

The topics covered by the course included the following major areas: obtaining sperm from mouse cauda epididymis, obtaining unfertilized mouse oocytes, three different types of in vitro fertilization techniques (using fresh, frozen or refrigerated sperm), vitrification of unfertilized oocytes and 2-cell embryos (freezing and thawing), slow-method for freezing and thawing 2-cell embryos, refrigerated sperm and 2-cell embryos, abdominal and scrotal vasectomies, three types of embryo transfer (oviduct, uterus and non-surgical, with NSET tools), freezing and thawing mouse sperm and ICSI, among many additional common methodologies used to handle mouse embryos and gametes adequately.

The course was very intensive, but the kind atmosphere created by participants and instructors was excellent and, hence, all the tight and carefully devised demonstrations and practices, packed within a very busy schedule, could be run smoothly and successfully without problems. The vast experience in running this type of cryopreservation courses and the remarkable professionality of our colleagues from CARD-University of Kumamoto were key for the accomplished success. All methods followed their three-step learning process. At first, the theory and fundaments were briefly provided and summarized. Then, the method was demonstrated by instructors and, finally, the participants executed the procedures by themselves, with the help of instructors.

The participants left this cryopreservation course to return to their countries and institutions with the most satisfactory results obtained and with plenty of new information to digest, process and reproduce. All participants were given the task to spread the word and disseminate the use of these highly efficient and robust cryopreservation techniques that have boosted the field.

This CARDCNB cryopreservation course was sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) and received the co-sponsorship and support from a number of companies whose contributions need to be greatly acknowledged as well: Leica, Charles River, Sigma, Labotect, Cosmo-Bio, Kyudo, Harlan and Paratechs.


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