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A growing number of laboratories are using the mouse as a model system in developmental biology as well as in molecular biology. Surprisingly, most of these laboratories do not have reliable computerized systems to track these animals, and the few commercial solutions available are expensive. We thus developed MICE (Mouse Information and Classification Entity), a program aimed at facilitating the monitoring of animals in animal facilities.
This program consists of a virtual facility in which scientists can perform all the tasks done in the real world (i.e., receiving animals, breeding them, preparing cage labels, etc.). Recording of each animal (birth date, cage number, ID number, tail analysis number, parents, genetic status, genetic background, etc.) enables reliable tracking. According to any parameter of interest, animals can then be identified, grouped, sorted, moved, and so forth. Crossings are automatically processed by the program. For example, new genetic backgrounds, generation number, and anticipated due dates are determined. The program also reminds the user when new births are expected and entering newborn animals only requires a few clicks. The genealogy of each animal can be determined in two different ways, one being the visualization of a genealogical tree from which information of ancestors can be retrieved.
This standalone program, that will be distributed free of charge to academic laboratories requesting a license, represents a new and valuable tool for all animal facility users, and permits simple and reliable tracking and retrieving of animals.