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  • The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the demand for specific-pathogen-free (SPF) nonhuman primates (NHPs) for development of vaccines and therapeutics, thus straining the supply of these animals for biomedical research studies. Non-SPF animals, which are available in greater numbers and include well-characterized primate species, should be considered in lieu of limited SPF animals for appropriate research studies.

    • Miguel A. Contreras
    • Matthew E. Arnegard
    • Stephanie J. Murphy
    Comment
  • Nonhuman primate (NHP) models, the most predictive preclinical models for human diseases and treatment outcomes, are in high demand and limited supply. There is a need for improved cryopreservation methods and routine storage of gametes and embryos, which are vital to protecting unique genetic models as well as providing resources for enhancing the genetic diversity of NHP colonies.

    • Matthew E. Arnegard
    • Sheri Ann Hild
    Comment
  • The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has significantly increased the demand for nonhuman primates (NHPs), the preclinical model most predictive of disease and treatment outcomes in humans, and for biocontainment laboratory spaces adjacent to facilities housing NHPs. Accompanying this requirement for biocontainment and research laboratory space is the need for skilled personnel to work in these facilities.

    • Sheri Ann Hild
    • Michael C. Chang
    • Franziska B. Grieder
    Comment
  • Alternatives for in vivo assays for drug testing have been proposed to solve open issues, such as costs, ethical, and logistical problems. One option is the chicken embryo. Here, we discuss its use as an experimental model for drug testing as well as limitations that researchers who want to work with the model should consider.

    • Belchiolina Beatriz Fonseca
    • Murilo Vieira da Silva
    • Lígia Nunes de Morais Ribeiro
    Comment
  • The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has significantly increased the demand for rhesus macaques, which might outstrip the supply for COVID-19 research and for other biomedical research studies. Baboons, another well-characterized research primate model, should be considered as a promising alternative for COVID-19 disease studies.

    • Michael C. Chang
    • Sheri Hild
    • Franziska Grieder
    Comment
  • Host genetics, housing conditions, and antibiotic treatments impact microbiota diversity and composition, but microbes that inhabit the mouse gut and skin can also influence severity and penetrance of host mutant phenotypes.

    • Michelle N. Perry
    • Susan M. Bello
    • Cynthia L. Smith
    Comment
  • There are administrative challenges inherent to any animal research program – from hiring vets and care staff to approving and overseeing protocols to reporting to the relevant authorities. Small institutions, with limited resources and available staff compared to ‘research juggernauts,’ can have extra hurdles to cross when administering their animal research programs.

    • Christopher S. Keator
    Comment
  • The relationships between individuals and the research animals they work with can enhance animal welfare, but they also involve a moral cost to staff. Securing a safe space to communicate openly about animal welfare & research and acknowledge its emotional impacts is crucial. In this Comment, we reflect on emotional resilience and provide resources available to help manage the emotional burden of working with laboratory animals.

    • Jordi L. Tremoleda
    • Angela Kerton
    Comment
  • There’s growing evidence that sex-based differences can influence phenotypes beyond those directly related to the reproductive system; to fully understand a gene’s function, researchers should consider both male and female subjects.

    • Susan M. Bello
    • Michelle N. Perry
    • Cynthia L. Smith
    Comment
  • Recombinase-expressing mice are selected based on where and when they will activate conditional alleles, but some produce phenotypes in isolation that can complicate analysis of those alleles.

    • Michelle N. Perry
    • Susan M. Bello
    • Cynthia L. Smith
    Comment
  • Rehabilitation of tumor-afflicted sea turtles, and their utilization as a natural model for human and wildlife cancers.

    • David J. Duffy
    • Brooke Burkhalter
    Comment
  • Creating a null mutation of a gene is a powerful way to examine gene function, but knocking out part of a gene does not always result in a null allele.

    • Susan M. Bello
    • Michelle N. Perry
    • Cynthia L. Smith
    Comment
  • A ‘day in the life’ of Dr. Jeanna Wheeler, a research scientist at the Seattle Institute for Biomedical & Clinical Research in Seattle, Washington. She works in the lab of Dr. Brian Kraemer, studying models of neurodegenerative diseases in worms and mice. Her most recent work can be found at https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aao6545.

    • Jeanna M. Wheeler
    Comment
  • Many studies have reported on the identification of ‘essential genes’ in mice, but the context of the experimental model, including genetic background and specific molecular details of the allele, may impact the influence of alleles on viability.

    • Susan M. Bello
    • Melissa L. Berry
    • Cynthia L. Smith
    Comment
  • Experts in the field met at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK) to discuss the role of zebrafish in advancing fundamental research and discovering therapeutic innovations.

    • Vincenzo Torraca
    • Margarida C. Gomes
    • Serge Mostowy
    Comment