Mouse Welfare Terms

INFRAFRONTIER supports and uses a standardised language for describing mouse welfare as detailed on the Mouse Welfare Terms website


Introduction to standardising language for describing mouse welfare

The past three decades have seen an unprecedented rise in the use of mice as a model organism for the investigation of mammalian biological systems and disease. Developing technologies for the manipulation of the mouse genome have been the source of this increase. The ability to add, remove and substitute genes within the context of a whole animal has lead to the generation of many thousands of genetically altered (GA) mouse lines. These colonies of mice sometimes display characteristics which are challenging in terms of the breeding, rearing and husbandry.

In recent years, large programs of work have commenced in which many mouse genes are being knocked-out and the phenotype of the subsequent mice are being catalogued and published. Moreover, as the interactions between individual genes and their pathways are more extensively investigated many strains are being shared by collaborative laboratories.

With more mice lines than ever being used by multiple groups, it is important that any knowledge required to successfully rear and maintain stock, minimise detrimental welfare issues and reduce animal suffering is passed between facilities. This information needs to be stored in an accessible, searchable format for future referencing and analysis.

To aid the dissemination of understandable data about the welfare implication of genetic alterations the Mouse Welfare Terms website compiles a standard, descriptive language - the Mouse Welfare (MW) terms. The aim of this vocabulary is to produce a standard set of terminologies which could be passed between animal facilities providing understandable information about the welfare of mouse lines. In addition, using standard terms will greatly aid the electronic storage, searching and analysis of welfare data in the future.