Douglas Strathdee and his colleagues have prepared the following collection of eight Posters to advertise the TT2014 meeting, illustrated with beautiful Edinburgh pictures. Please, help us announcing and disseminating the TT2014 meeting by putting one or several of these Posters at your centres, institutions, facilities, departments, universities. The TT meeting is a unique forum occurring every 18 months where to discuss the latest technical developments and applications on animal transgenesis. This is a conference that can’t be missed by anyone interested in this subject! Thanks for helping us advertise the TT2014 meeting!
The 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science, organized by Charles River, just closed in Strasbourg, France, after three days of interesting presentations and discussions at the intersection between animal welfare, animal experimentation, current guidelines and legislation, biomedical research from academia and industry and society perception on these topics. The Organizers should be praised for the selection and variety of topics, as well as for the smooth and pleasant running of the entire course, which included an enjoyable visit to an old typical cellar from the Alsace region along with a wine-testing Gala dinner.
Several ISTT members participated in this event, including organizers (Cyril Desvignes, Jean Cozzi), members of the steering committee (Johannes Wilbertz), invited speakers (Belén Pintado, Yann Herault, Ignacio Anegon, Lluís Montoliu), and participants (Marcello Raspa, Ferenc Erdelyi, Gabor Szabo,…) among other.
During this course, the recent EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used in research and its implication on the use of animals in biomedical research and policies throughout Europe was discussed, from different angles, by Magda Chlebus, Gill Fleetwood, Thierry Decelle, Patri Vergara and Belén Pintado. Topics covered included the new training courses and competencies to work with experimentation animals in Europe, the animal-welfare bodies and the current understanding of the 3R’s paradigm. Javier Guillén compared, side by side, the new EU Directive with the current Guide in the US and highlighted their many coincidences, suggesting that a combined use of both documents would be ideal for the adoption of successful animal care and use programs. Jan-Bas Prins, current president of FELASA, presented his view of the field of laboratory animal sciences, before the implementation of this new EU Directive, as an opportunity and a positive challenge to interface and exchange knowledge with many other players involved.
Health monitoring programs, rodent microbiologic surveillance, methods employed to detect all these pathogens robustly in laboratory animal facilities and the updated recommendations from FELASA, recently published in Laboratory Animals, were presented by William Shek, Guy Mulder, Stéphanie Durand and Axel Kornerup Hansen. Operational and technical aspects of animal facilities were discussed by Alberto Gobbi and Peter Dockx, whereas the issues related with occupational health and safety program evaluations were presented by Jann Hau.
Examples of the use of rodent animal models in biomedical research, in academia, by James Di Santo and Andrea Bertotti, as well as in the industry, by Joyce L. Young, were discussed. The importance of genetic quality in mouse research as well as the complexity of mouse genome and the impact of the genetic background on phenotypes was presented by Charles Miller and Lluís Montoliu, respectively. The procedures conducted at the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) as well as the challenges they encountered during the deployment of this impressively large enterprise were presented and discussed by Sara Wells and, by the local representative, Yann Herault, Director of the French Mouse Clinic, ICS, in Strasbourg, who delivered the closing talk.
The newest technologies in stem cell biology and animal transgenesis were also present at this 7th Short Course. Hongkui Deng summarized the most innovative approach he devised to prepare induced-pluripotent cells from somatic cells, using a cocktail of four chemicals, four molecules that mimicked the induction signals described by Shinya Yamanaka. The new logics for the production of targeted genetic modifications, using editing or engineered nucleases (Meganuclease, ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs) in mice and rats was presented by Ralf Kuehn and Ignacio Anegon, respectively.
The choice of rodent anaestesia protocols was discussed by Aurelie Thomas, whereas the various methods for euthanasia in rodents were presented by Huw Golledge. On the last day, Aurora Bronstad summarized the work done at the AALAS-FELASA joint working group on harm-benefit analysis, whereas Katrina Gore highlighted the need for more robust analytical procedures in research protocols involving animal experimentation, in order to optimize the rate of success of pre-clinical drugs.
In summary, the 7th Edition of this biennial Charles River Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Europe, attended by some 120 participants, was an excellent opportunity to update information related to animal welfare, EU legislation and transposition difficulties in various countries, newest technologies, mouse genomics and genetics, large mouse consortia and numerous important topics that are relevant for animal facility managers, researchers, veterinarians and anyone else interested in the best use of animals in experiments, according to current laws and recommendations.
One of the most important assets of the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT), is the amount of information on animal transgenesis accummulated through the archives of the ISTT_list and tg-l email lists. Currently, more than 27,000 messages are fully available to ISTT members, conveniently organized in searchable and dynamic archives. The traditional transgenic-list (tg-l), operative since 1996 and offered from the ISTT web server since the end of 2011, has distributed over 22,000 messages since then, whereas the ISTT_list, associated and born with our Society in 2006, has disseminated some 5,000 messages, discussing both lists on almost each and every topic, issue or situation related directly or indirectly with animal transgenesis. All this endless information resource is fully available to ISTT members, through powerful search engines. Non-ISTT members subscribing to tg-l have access only to the most recent messages distributed through the tg-l, using the simple search engine, which allows simple searches and outputs the 50 most recent messages discussed on the subject of interest. In contrast, ISTT members have access to more sophysticated searching engines and the output always contains all messages archived on the matter investigated.
Obtaining granted access to these rich sources of information is very easy and cheap. Simply apply for ISTT membership! Submit now your application to become a member of the ISTT and you will get immediate and full access to all these messages.
The first weeks of 2014 have generated interesting technical advances in animal transgenesis, and prestigious ISTT members have been involved in them. If this is just a sample of what will come next it would seem appropriate to call this starting 2014 year the wonder year. This past week we knew about a new manner for inducing pluripotency, simply exposing somatic cells to a low pH, using a physical stimulus, transiently applied during a short period of time. This acidic exposure appears to trigger the reprogramming steps required to convert somatic into fully capable pluripotent cells, sustenting the generation of germ-line transmitting chimeras. Furthermore, these STAP (Stimulus-Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency) cells appear to be able to contribute to both the embryonic and extra-embryonic lineages, thus constituting a unique status of pluripotency. These awesome two papers, by Haruko Obokata and collaborators, have been published in Nature, and include as co-author in one and senior corresponding author in the other, ISTT memberTeruhiko Wakayama, the first scientist awarded the ISTT Prize.
Also last week we learnt about the first non-human knockout primates. A group of Chinese scientists (Yuyu Niu and collaborators), including the most prestigious centres involved in the generation of animal models in China, published a paper in Cell where they reported a new application for the powerful and novel CRISPR-Cas technology to produce mutant monkeys. They generated, for the first time, twin cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) with two targeted loci, Ppar-g and Rag1, in one single step. This collaborative work included as co-authors ISTT member and ISTT Prize awarded scientist Qi Zhou, as well as Xiaoyang Zhao, who received the first ISTT Young Investigator Award. This achievement, which was not possible to date with standard technologies, illustrates the unlimited power of the CRISPR-Cas system.
We first learnt about the CRISPR-Cas system, as the responsible for adaptative bacterial immunity, in mid 2012. But it was not until last year, 2013, when the molecular reagents become amenable and applicable for genome editing in animal cells and embryos, for the generation of a variety of genetically-modified animals, including all sorts of transgenic and mutant types, with an explosion of papers and applications. Today, 1st February 2014, as many as 88 papers appear listed in PubMed combining “CRISPR genome editing”. The amazing simplicity of this sytem, and the ease by which anyone can start using this technology in the lab, simply obtaining the two required plasmids (carrying the RNA guide, where the target homologous sequence must be engineered, and the Cas9 nuclease) from diverse providers, including Addgene, explains why the CRIRPR-Cas technology is now being considered a true revolution in our field, in animal transgenesis.