This week in animal research 29/07/16
Researchers used mice to show that SIV can transmit from chimps to human cells
Certain strains of the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) are able to infect humans. This evidence suggests that the disease which affects chimpanzees may be the original source of HIV in humans. It is believed that humans who ate infected bush meat was the source of the disease. The researchers used humanised mice and found the SIV strains were able to infect them easily.
Ireland publishes 2015 animal statistics showing 228,975 procedures
Ireland has recently published its annual statistics showing the number of animals used for research and testing in 2015. Ireland carried out 228,975 procedures on animals in 2015, 1% more than in 2014.
An off-patent malaria drug could help treat cancer, research in mice illustrates
The off-patent malaria drug, atovaquone, has been found to boost oxygen levels in tumour cells in mice. Cancer cells with low oxygen levels are more difficult to treat with radiotherapy and are more likely to spread to other parts of the body, therefore this drug could help destroy cancer cells by making them more susceptible to radiotherapy. This research has prompted scientists to start clinical trials and because the drug is already off-patent it is cheaper to use than a newly developed medicine.
Mouse eggs grown in lab dish - technique could one day help treat infertility
Mice have been grown from egg cells that were developed in a dish, from egg precursor cells (oocyte) of a mouse fetus. After the egg was fertilised and implanted into a surrogate mother, a healthy mouse was produced. This new technique will allow a better understanding how eggs mature by directly observing complex signalling between an oocyte and the surrounding cells that direct its development. If this technique works in human cells, scientists might someday be able to treat infertility by making healthy eggs from other cells in a woman’s body.
Animal cloning does not lead to long-term health effects
20 years ago, Dolly the sheep, the first ever cloned mammal was born. Yet, six and a half years after her birth, Dolly was put down due to infection. Until now, cloned animals were thought to be born ‘pre-aged’ due to the cells used to clone them. Professor Kevin Sinclair and his team have now published a paper illustrating the healthy ageing of cloned animals. Four ewes – Debbie, Denise, Dianna and Daisy – were cloned from the same mammary gland cells used to make Dolly. A further nine sheep, aged between seven and nine years, were also cloned by the University. Dolly’s sisters, having just celebrated their 9th birthday, plus the other nine sheep, are healthy and do not display any major health implications.
Koalas use retrofitted roadways in water culverts reducing roadkill
Koala and other animals have learnt to use new wildlife passageways to cross busy roads in Australia's Queensland state.
72 koalas were tracked to study the effectiveness of the crossings, which were part of a $20 million retrofit project to help stop roadway deaths of the vulnerable marsupial.