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Zebrafish, Guidance on the housing and care of

December 16th, 2010 by Mary Wood

Housing and care of aquatic specieszfish50Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Guidance on the housing and care of zebrafish (2010) (PDF 1.28MB)

Over the past two decades the use of zebrafish in research has been increasing.  Zebrafish now rank as one of the major species used.

For example: Feng Y et al 2010 Live Imaging of Innate Immune Cell Sensing of Transformed Cells in Zebrafish Larvae: Parallels between Tumor Initiation and Wound Inflammation. PLoS Biol 8(12): e1000562. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000562

However, specific husbandry requirements for zebrafish are still far from fully understood and protocols for feeding, grouping and breeding these animals, plus environmental factors such as water parameters and provision of environmental enrichment, can vary from laboratory to laboratory.

Investigation into the natural ecology of the zebrafish and its environmental preferences, and systematic efforts to establish optimal standards relating to the housing and care of zebrafish are only recently beginning. There is a clear desire for a fuller understanding of the behaviours and requirements of these animals and a need to better define the factors that may affect their welfare.

With this in mind, a resource published in November by the RSPCA Research Animals Department aims to:

  • facilitate understanding of zebrafish behaviour and their requirements;
  • highlight welfare considerations relating to breeding, supply, housing and care;
  • identify, where possible, consensus for appropriate environmental and care conditions;
  • provide recommendations for improving health, welfare and egg quality, and for reducing the potential for stress and suffering;
  • stimulate discussion and research to identify ‘good practice’ in areas where current knowledge is sparse or inconclusive.

Additional  RSPCA Resarch Animals Department Reports and Resources available online.

Similar guidelines and resources are available from NORECOPA

Related project:   Harmonisation of the Care and Use of Fish in Research Gardermoen, Norway, September 2009

NIH-sponsored Panel Issues Comprehensive U.S. Food Allergy Guidelines

December 7th, 2010 by Bruce Abbott

from the press release:

Guidelines Recommend Uniform Standards in the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy.

An expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has issued comprehensive U.S. guidelines to assist health care professionals in diagnosing food allergy and managing the care of people with the disease.

The Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-sponsored Expert Panel, developed over two years, are intended for use by both family practice physicians and medical specialists. Published online by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the guidelines and summary recommendations are freely accessible on the NIAID Food Allergy Guidelines portal. NIAID expects to make a lay language synopsis of the guidelines available there in early 2011.

Healthy People 2020 Released

December 4th, 2010 by Bruce Abbott

Healthy People 2020 identifies nearly 600 objectives with more than 1,300 measures to improve the health of all Americans.

To monitor progress toward achieving individual objectives, Healthy People relies on data sources derived from:

* A national census of events (like the National Vital Statistics System)

* Nationally representative sample surveys (like the National Health Interview Survey)

Healthy People 2020 includes 2 types of objectives: measurable and developmental.

Each measurable objective contains a data source and a national baseline value. The baselines use valid and reliable data derived from currently established and, where possible, nationally representative data systems. Baseline data provide the point from which a 2020 target is set.

Developmental objectives currently do not have national baseline data and, therefore, have abbreviated or no operational definitions. However, all developmental objectives included in Healthy People 2020 should have a confirmed nationally representative data source that will ultimately provide baseline data and at least 1 tracking point. Developmental objectives indicate areas that need to be placed on the national agenda for data collection. They address subjects of sufficient national importance that investments should be made over the next decade to measure their change.

National Database for Autism Research

December 1st, 2010 by Mary Wood

NIH NewsThe National Database for Autism Research announces its first data release


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) researchers now can use data from over 10,000 participants enrolled in ASD studies. The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), created by the National Institutes of Health, recently made the data available. Researchers can now use the NDAR portal to perform queries that simultaneously yield results from multiple datasets. The portal was designed to provide tools to define and standardize data collected by different laboratories under different protocols. It was also built to ensure a collaborative approach and open data access to the whole ASD research community.

NDAR National Database for Autism Research is a secure bioinformatics platform for scientific collaboration and data-sharing for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) investigators.


Included in the informative Frequently Asked Questions is information on Data Sharing Plans