Mouse functional genomics requires standardization of mouse handling and housing conditions
The study of mouse models is crucial for the functional annotation of the human genome. The recent improvements in mouse genetics now moved the bottleneck in mouse functional genomics from the generation of mutant mice lines to the phenotypic analysis of these mice lines. Simple, validated, and reproducible phenotyping tests are a prerequisite to improving this phenotyping bottleneck. We analyzed here the impact of simple variations in animal handling and housing procedures, such as cage density, diet, gender, length of fasting, as well as site (retro-orbital vs. tail), timing, and anesthesia used during venipuncture, on biochemical, hematological, and metabolic/endocrine parameters in adult C57BL/6J mice. Our results, which show that minor changes in procedures can profoundly affect biological variables, underscore the importance of establishing uniform and validated animal procedures to improve reproducibility of mouse phenotypic data.