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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mouse cages matter

Sometimes, researchers using genetically identical mice will get different results from their experiments. Diego Restrepo and his team from the University of Colorado may have figured out why. It seems that different types of cages can yield different results.

The mouse cages used in laboratories differ in a number of ways. For example, in some cases, airflow is passively filtered, whereas in others, fresh air is mechanically blown through the cages. The latter cages are called ‘high-ventilation’ cages. There were significantly more mouse fights in the high ventilation cages, possibly due to differences in olfactory cues or temperature.

The scientists encourage other researchers to pay attention to the type of cage used from now on, in order to ensure consistent results.