What does the acronym SPF stand for?
SPF stand for Specific or Specified Pathogen Free.
What does PC2 mean?
Physical Containment Level 2. Bioresources is PC2 certified.
Why is SAHMRI Bioresources an SPF-status facility?
There is a significant amount of scientific data to show that mice carrying certain pathogens react differently under certain experimental conditions and that there are a variety of pathogens that compromise the breeding performance and general health status of rodents.
How will my work be affected moving from a conventional facility to an SPF one?
Generally it won't be compromised. It is considered that the reliability and reproducibility of your research may, in many cases, improve by moving to working under SPF conditions. What it does mean though is that there are much stricter standards to which you and the facility must adhere. This includes the way the animals are housed, bred and handled and the clothing you wear into the facility.
What training do I require to work in the facility?
As part of the relationship and agreement with the Animal Ethics Committee, Bioresources requires users to complete certain training, induction and assessment of tasks to ensure competency before working with animals under approved project conditions. An understanding of obligations and responsibilities under the Code and the State Animal Welfare Act, and an awareness of how to work within the facility are essential. For further details, please visit the Gaining access page or contact email@example.com.
Can I bring equipment in to the facility?
Yes. Equipment, whether it be brand new or pre-loved can enter the facility. However, there are different decontamination requirements depending on whether the items are new or second-hand. For example, if an item is new, spraying with F10 disinfectant is sufficient, but where an item has been used elsewhere, it will require Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) decontamination before entering the facility. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what you require to be brought in and to arrange for this to happen.
What health status do you maintain?
We adhere to the FELASA guidelines for both mice and rats in the facility. The latest guidelines are available here.
Why are mouse lines imported into the facility by embryo rederivation?
To ensure the lines we house within the facility are clean, we must remove any pathogens they may potentially have. The only safe way to do this is by early embryo rederivation. This is where embryos at 1-2 days old (2- to 8-cell) are transferred into clean recipients. Caesarean section is not a satisfactory method of transfer, as viral pathogens can be easily transferred into the developing embryos via the placenta.
Can I bring in mouse lines from other facilities without embryo rederivation?
In the vast majority of cases, no. Even if the health status of the line appears clean the animals may still be carrying pathogens that have not been detected. The only way to ensure a clean facility is maintained is to bring everything in by embryo rederivation.
We have a couple of exceptions to this rule and these are animals that are purchased from one of the Jackson Labs clean facilities or from Charles River, USA and Charles River Europe. They must come with a detailed clean history. Such animals are screened into the facility and are “quarantined” until screening confirms their pathogen-free status.
What if I need to do a short-term experiment with a mouse line available elsewhere but don’t want to maintain it as a line or breed here?
Unfortunately, in most cases it will still have to be embryo rederived here. We can offer the option to freeze down a stock of embryos for future projects so that the line can be easily reanimated in the future when required, but the line cannot come in directly no matter the length of the project. However, if there is room available for the duration of the project, we may be able to house it for a short period of time at our Gilles Plains facility. Please contact email@example.com for any further enquiries.
Do I need to have lines rederived if I am only bringing them in to freeze sperm and embryos?
No. Animals can be housed at Gilles Plains, or harvested directly from an external site in order to provide us the sufficient requirements for freezing your line without the need to rederive.
How do I arrange an import into the facility?
Please consult the Import/Export webpage by following the link here for further information.
The line I wish to bring in is homozygous. Will this be altered by the rederivation process?
Yes. In almost all cases, we rederive lines by taking homozygous or heterozygous males and crossing them with our in-house C57BL/6J females. This means that the rederived GM offspring will be heterozygous. Once the rederived animals are genotyped and confirmed to be clean, they will move into our general breeding area where they can be intercrossed to generate the first homozygous animals.
When the line must be kept homozygous and cannot be crossed with wild type C57BL/6J for rederivation (e.g. complex lines that are homozygous for several alleles), animals will have to be bred up at our Gilles Plains site in order to obtain GM females to use for super ovulation. This is very expensive and avoided unless absolutely necessary.
If you do not have a genotyping assay to differentiate homozygotes from heterozygotes, you will need to develop one as we will not rederive as homozygotes for this reason only. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance and guidance with this process.
Do I need IBC approval to bring in my GM mice?
Approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee is required for GM lines, but if you are only bringing in genetically modified mice that are low risk and used for breeding and simple experiments you do not need to apply for your own approval. These lines would be listed and covered under our Bioresources IBC PC1 application. Please contact email@example.com for further details.
What stock lines do you house for researchers?
We aim to keep stocks of commonly used mouse lines for researchers that are maintained as tick-over colonies when not required so that researchers do not have to continually import a line each time they require a few animals.
Currently, we have C57BL/6J, CD-1, BALB/c and NSG mice available. All other colonies are researcher-owned. If you are trying to locate specific lines for use, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance and information as to what is currently housed.
What genetic quality control methods do you use for stock lines?
We breed our wild type lines to accepted international standards that avoid genetic drift. In the case of inbred wild-type lines, we use three types of colonies (Founder, Expansion and Production) to ensure that there is a pipeline of animal breeding such that no animal can get more than 8 generations away from the original animal imported. Once, we are past 8 generations, we restock from either frozen embryos or our own cryopreserved embryos.
Can I bring mouse tissues into the facility?
It will depend on the origin and state of the tissue. Fresh tissues from other facilities cannot be allowed in if they are in an unsealed state. We evaluate each case individually so consult the Veterinary Manager and for imaging purposes, the NIF Imaging Fellow, through email@example.com .
Can I bring mouse cell lines into the facility?
Generally, yes, but we like them to be screened for mouse pathogen contamination first if they are standard cell lines that are routinely cultured. We would need to set up a standard process with you (in the form of an SOP) for how each cell line is brought in and used in the facility so please consult firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Can I bring human cell lines or cells from donors or patients into the facility?
Generally, yes, but we require them to first be screened for Mycoplasma contamination if they are standard cell lines that are routinely cultured.
We would set up a standard process (in the form of an SOP) for how each cell line is brought in and used in the facility so consult the Veterinary Manager through email@example.com .
How do I get my cell lines screened for pathogens?
We have an internal service run by ComPath at Gilles Plains that is able to screen cell lines for Mycoplasma and many other rodent viral pathogens.
If the AEC has approved my project, do I need any other approvals before starting my work?
The AEC deals with the ethics around animal use and does not focus on every aspect of scientific best practice or the logistics and available space of the site specifically. For example, the AEC does not oversee the methods used to maintain the SPF status of the facility. The AEC, the Veterinary Manager, Bioresources must be satisfied your research project can be undertaken in SAHMRI, before it commences. You should always consult the Veterinary Manager, Bioresources through a pre-study meeting to ensure your SOPs are available electronically and the methods you are using adhere to the practices currently used in the facility. It is always best to show the Veterinary Manager, Bioresources your application before you submit it to the AEC. If you have any enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
What are the ARRIVE guidelines?
The ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines were developed by the NC3Rs and are intended to improve the reporting of research using animals – maximising information published and minimising unnecessary studies.
View the original publication of the ARRIVE guidelines here.