The Beacon Volume 4, Issue 1

October 2019 Newsletter


Announcements & Reminders 

Online Regulatory Training is now called “Working with the IACUC.” It needs to be completed only once-no more pesky reminders every 3 years! Please get that done as soon as possible. Anyone who has completed this training after February 10th, 2018 has already fulfilled the requirement.

Medical Clearance, as part of IACUC training, is now only required for facility access, not simply that you are listed on the protocol. For example, if senior PIs do not need access to the facility, then medical clearance is not required. It is important to note, if you work in proximity to animals, (i.e. in shared lab space), then medical clearance is required.

Increases in Animal Numbers may now be processed administratively by Protocol Liaisons, to reduce burden on the PI and the IACUC. These requests can be submitted to your Protocol Liaison with one of the 5 pre-approved justifications in the Changes to Approved IACUC Protocol Policy. The requests will be processed in an expedited fashion. The following categories are considered appropriate for such requests:

  • Additional experiments that are within the scope of the overall project (no new procedures)
  • Numbers of animals previously expected to complete current experiments were underestimated
  • Expanding breeding program because the number of offspring produced is fewer than originally estimated
  • Investigating new strains that are relevant to the scope of the current project (NOTE: if the strain has an abnormal clinical phenotype, then a significant modification must be submitted)
  • Replace animals lost due to accidents (e.g., flooded cages)

Upcoming Facility Inspections:

October 2019:

  • LCI (10-10-19)
  • LSOGB/LSOG1 (10-10-19)
  • LEPH (10-24-19)
  • YPI/SEAMCO (10-24-19)

November 2019:


***The 3 most common deficiencies found on inspections are:

  1. Expired items (e.g., drugs, PPE, food)
  2. Vaporizer certification out of date or Improper maintenance of waste gas charcoal canisters
  3. Inappropriately labeled items (e.g., mix/expiration dates, contents)

Please check your spaces periodically to assure fulfilment of IACUC expectations. The Inspection Checklist the IACUC uses to document findings is available on the OARS website.


Non-Pharmaceutical Grade Drugs: We repeatedly see multiple examples of drugs that are not pharmaceutical grade (e.g., antibodies, compounds) although that question is answered “Yes” in the protocol. It is completely acceptable to use non-pharmaceutical grade drugs but their use needs to be justified. If using non-pharmaceutical grade drugs, choose the most appropriate “No” selection from the dropdown menu.

process Illustration

Compliance Corner - What would you do?

Dr. Smith is in the vivarium and notices that three cages of the lab’s extremely valuable transgenic mice had not been genotyped. The mice are now 28 days of age, and ready to wean.  Before including these mice in an experiment, it is critical to know their genotype.  What should Dr. Smith do?

A, Take the cages to the lab (following the proper transportation procedures, of course) and collect tail biopsies for later genotyping.
B, Move the cages to the procedure room next to the housing room and clip one of the toes for later genotyping.
C, Collect ear tissue (punch/clip) for later genotyping.
D, Any of the above.

Correct Answer: C

NOTE: You must have genotyping by ear punch/notch/clip approved in your protocol.

A, B and D are incorrect because tail biopsies can only be performed in mice up to 21 days of age, unless there is prior IACUC approval and anesthesia and analgesia are used.  Toe clipping is only ever permissible up to 12 days of age.

Compliance Corner - Additional Information

A few months ago, after a spike in non-compliance incidents regarding toe and tail clipping for genotyping, OARS sent an email message to all animal users detailing the proper way to clip toes and tails.    

We wanted to take the opportunity here, to re-emphasize the importance of following the Rodent Identification & Genotyping Policy.  To provide further guidance and assistance, we have recently developed a standard procedure for identification and genotyping of rodents, which should be selected when writing your protocol.

The following are important points from the Rodent Identification & Genotyping Policy.

Tail Clipping

  • A tail biopsy must remove no more than 5 mm of the distal end of the tail.
  • Tail biopsies performed after 21 days of age must be justified and approved in your protocol, and must be performed using anesthesia, pre-emptive opioid injection +/- a local anesthetic, followed by post-operative analgesics for 48 hours. 

Toe Clipping

  • Toe clipping is acceptable for neonatal mice up to 12 days of age and for rats no later than 7 days.   
  • Limit the clipping to ½ or less of the distal end of the digit.

It is also important to remember that if tissues are removed as a means of identification, that tissue must be used for genotyping purposes, if possible.

Special Topic

As a means of improving our support for the animal research community, the roles and responsibilities of the Protocol Liaisons and Research Support Specialists will be combined into a new position, “Research Liaison.”

The Research Liaisons will assist you in writing IACUC protocols and shepherding them through the review process AND help you meet the IACUC’s expectations for laboratory practices and compliance after the protocol is approved.

What this means for you is that the labs will have one point-of-contact for protocol reviews, comparative reviews and lab assessments.

Having a Research Liaison focus on fewer labs, they will develop a more robust understanding, from pre-approval to post-approval, of your protocols and research needs.

For the vast majority of departments, you will keep either your Protocol Liaison or Research Support Specialist, but there is a need to do some shifting of departments to assure an equal distribution across all Research Liaisons. We have complete faith in all the Research Liaisons so you will be in good hands. This transition will begin in Fall/Winter 2019/2020.

OARS would appreciate any suggestions for the newsletter, training topics, or anything else. Please reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!

Suggestion Box