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Open Access Novel Husbandry Techniques Support Survival of Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber) Pups

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The naked mole rat (NMR) is a small eusocial rodent. Because of its remarkable longevity (maximal lifespan, 32 y) and resistance to cancer, the NMR has emerged as a valuable model for aging and cancer research. However, breeding NMR can be difficult. Here, we report the successful introduction and acceptance of pups into a foreign colony with existing pups of different ages. Among the 7 NMR colonies in our satellite facility, one had a consistently poor record of pup viability, with nearly 100% preweaning mortality in multiple litters born over the course of 2 y. The queen of this colony gave birth to 18 pups in January 2013; by 2 d after parturition, it was evident that the pups were not receiving sufficient nourishment. To salvage the litter, the most vigorous pups were cross-fostered to another queen that had recently given birth. On postparturition day 1 (PD1), two pups from the poorly nourished donor litter were bathed with warm water, rolled in recipient colony bedding, and transferred to the recipient colony, which included 8 PD14 pups. The new pups were accepted by the recipient queen, who continued to produce milk in response to suckling by the donor pups well past the weaning of her own litter. This case report provides evidence of successful cross-fostering of NMR pups despite age differences between donor pups and those in the recipient litter; this technique may prove beneficial to researchers struggling with NMR breeding issues.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Rochester, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA 2: Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA 3: Department of Biology, University of Rochester, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA. [email protected] 4: Department of Biology, University of Rochester, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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