Genetic Monitoring of Isogenic Strains

Inbred strains are relatively easy to monitor because all individuals should be identical at all microsatellite loci, apart from any recent mutations. These will be quite rare. However, at present, there are no agreed upon standards on the number of loci to test or sample size and frequency. Generally, the effort expended in monitoring each strain should depend on the chance of genetic contamination, with account being taken of the importance of the colony and the likely damage to research or reputation of the breeder from a contamination. Danger arises when colonies are first established, because there may be no real assurance that they are what they are supposed to be, and maintaining animals of several strains in the same animal room clearly increases the chance of a mis-mating. Staff also needs to be well trained, with the avoidance of a culture of blame so that staff know that they will not get into trouble when reporting unexpected observations, should this turn out to be due to genetic contamination.

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