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Measuring behavior of animal models: faults and remedies

Widely used behavioral assays need re-evaluation and validation against their intended use. We focus here on measures of chronic anxiety in mouse models and posit that widely used assays such as the open-field test are performed at the wrong time, for inadequate durations and using inappropriate mouse strains. We propose that behavioral assays be screened for usefulness on the basis of their replicability across laboratories.

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Figure 1: Comparing anxiety behavior between BALB/c and wild mice.


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Our research is supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation of The Israel Academy of Science to I.G. and Y.B. and by a special grant from Tel Aviv University's vice president of research. Y.B. was supported at the later stage of the research by European Research Council Advanced Researcher grant (PSARPS). We thank Noldus EthoVision for letting us use their tracking system and N. Kafkafi for his assistance in writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ehud Fonio.

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Fonio, E., Golani, I. & Benjamini, Y. Measuring behavior of animal models: faults and remedies. Nat Methods 9, 1167–1170 (2012).

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