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The mouse passport (finished project)

Axel Kornerup Hansen

The mouse is the most widely used experimental animal - in Denmark and globally. In diabetes research, which is one of the largest research areas in Denmark, mice of the strain C57BL/6 are fed a high fat diet, which induces obesity and a diabetes-like condition. How many animals to use in each experiment is determined by how differently the mice react and how obese or diabetic they become. Recent research has shown that this variation is largely controlled by the gut microbiota of animals, which today, unlike previously, can be relatively easily fully characterized by sequencing on stools from the animals. Another influencing factor may be the animals' genomics. Very similar inbred mice are mostly used in research, but recent methods have shown that the mice in their genetic material outside the coding genes may carry mutations, which at some breeders can be in high numbers. The non-coding areas of the genome control how high or low the different genes are expressed in the mouse.

In this project, each mouse has had their gut microbiota characterized, and in mice from a colony with a known genetic variability, the mice have also been genetically characterized. For comparison, mice from a colony without genetic variability have also been used. Thereafter, an obesity study with a known treatment was carried out after high fat feeding. In the data evaluation, the mice have been grouped according to their genetics and intestinal flora, and it was calculated whether such a grouping, where the normally uncontrolled variation is now controlled, means that fewer mice can be used in a trial of this type.

The result was that the characterization of the mice, where each mouse was given a 'passport' on the basis of their individual gut microbiota and genetics, could significantly reduce group sizes.

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