Official rules for the nomenclature of outbred stocks were published by ICLA (the International Council on Laboratory Animals, now ICLAS, the International Council on Laboratory Animal Science) in 1972.16 Stocks should be closed colonies for at least four generations and should be maintained with less than 1% inbreeding per generation (see below). They should be designated by a code consisting of uppercase letters or letters and numbers, starting with a letter. Where a stock was already known by a designation, which included other characters, it should retain its existing designation. This code should be preceded by a laboratory code that is the same as the one used for inbred strains (see below), with the code and strain designation being separated by a colon, e.g., Hsd:WIST, a stock of Wistar rats designated WIST and maintained by Harlan Sprague-Dawley.

In practice, the use of such standard designation is voluntary, as there is no international organization that currently takes a particular interest in the genetics and nomenclature of outbred stocks.

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