Why Smart Colony Management?
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While there are countless breakthroughs that would not have been possible without the discovery by Gordon and Ruddle, the scientific community must also remain vigilant about the ethical use of research animals. Guiding principles for the ethical use of animals in testing were first described in 1959 by Russell and Burch (the three Rs): replacement, reduction, and refinement. While these principles cover a broad range of topics related to animal testing, we bring them up to highlight the principle of reduction: smart and effective data management is critical for ensuring that only the necessary animals are used for each study, and none are wasted.
How many mice (or other animals) are you and/or your research environment currently maintaining? Perhaps more importantly, have you considered how you can apply the principle of reduction, and minimize the use of animals in your research? Many animals are used for only one procedure, and euthanized following the end of the experiment. Lack of communication among researchers working on different studies in the same lab or facility can sometimes be an issue. Have you considered whether there is be a way to use any of your animals for more than one procedure, thus increasing the amount of obtainable information from a single mouse? The ability to determine this often depends on how well the mouse colonies data for any given lab are standardized and organized.
Despite the paramount importance of standardized and organized smart colony data management, however, many are still recording critical data using rudimentary handwritten notebooks or “simple” spreadsheets to track mouse colonies, and complicated (or even simple) breeding schemes! In other words, we are left with researchers using current, cutting edge scientific techniques and recording their data with an ancient, ‘ad hoc’ approach to data management (at least with respect to colony management). These “simple” spreadsheets are also inherently error-prone and seldom backed-up but that is a topic for another day ...).
So why do we bring up the importance of smart data management of mouse colonies? And perhaps more importantly, who are we? We are SoftMouse.NET, a secure cloud-based colony management program designed for biotech companies, academic researchers, animal technicians, veterinarians and other laboratories to increase efficiency and productivity in the management of mouselines. Ultimately, the goal of SoftMouse.NET is to replace these error-prone spreadsheets with an easy-to-use secure cloud smart colony management database that allows for more accuracy, streamlined data, collaboration and most importantly, better research and vivarium cost management insight.
"Simple" spreadsheets have not evolved over the years leaving users unsatisfied with an inefficient error prone workflow process. Conversely SoftMouse.NET has been evolving since its inception to keep up to date with current scientific needs workflow requirements and evolving data security protections. New features are continually added to SoftMouse.NET based on user’s feedback.