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Barbara Stone - The Future of Mouse Embryo Transfer Achieving the 3Rs with the NSET Device: Read about how the NSET Device can help achieve the 3Rs of mouse embryo transfer. Then, solve a problem and end with a nice call to action.

Barbara Stone – The Future of Mouse Embryo Transfer Achieving the 3Rs with the NSET Device

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is a UK-based scientific organisation. The NC3Rs promotes the 3Rs – Replacement, Refinement and Reduction – in scientific research and testing. The 3Rs are a way of minimising the use of animals in research and testing, and improving animal welfare.

One way the NC3Rs is promoting the 3Rs is through the development of new technologies, such as the NSET (Non-Surgical Embryo Transfer) device. The NSET device is a device that allows for the transfer of mouse embryos without the need for surgery. This is a less invasive way of transferring embryos, and it has the potential to improve animal welfare by reducing the number of animals needed for research, and reducing the stress and pain associated with surgery.

The NSET device is still in development, and is not yet available for use. However, the NC3Rs is working with scientists and engineers to bring the NSET device to market. The NC3Rs is also working to raise awareness of the NSET device, and the potential benefits of using the device for mouse embryo transfer.

The NC3Rs is committed to promoting the 3Rs, and to improving animal welfare. The NSET device is one way in which the NC3Rs is working to achieve these goals.

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Non-surgical transfer techniques for mouse embryos and sperm provide animal welfare benefits for assisted reproduction of mice. While surgical embryo transfer (ET) is an effective method for transfer of embryos into the uterine horn of mice, surgery is expensive, time consuming, and requires technical expertise. Surgery is also a stressful procedure for the mouse, which has to be anesthetized and treated with an analgesic. We have developed a simple, brief procedure for ET using a non-surgical embryo transfer (NSET) device. Once embryos are loaded into the NSET device, the tapered NSET catheter passes through the vagina and traverses the cervix to deposit the embryos into the uterine horn of a recipient mouse. Since the NSET procedure does not require sedation, opening of the inner body cavity, or use of an analgesic, this procedure is less stressful for the mouse than surgery. In proof, our results show that when pseudopregnant mice are monitored by electrocardiography, the non-surgical procedure does not affect heart rate. The NSET procedure also has no effect on the level of the stress biomarker fecal corticosterone measured by ELISA analysis. However, surgery or anesthesia does lower heart rate and increases levels of fecal corticosterone. Additional studies show that the NSET procedure is effective for transfer of mouse embryos for the purposes of rederivation, cryorecovery, and transgenic research. Embryos can be successfully transferred with the NSET technique after cryopreservation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or embryonic stem (ES) cell injection as an alternative to traditional surgical embryo transfer. The NSET device has also successfully transferred mouse sperm for artificial insemination. Therefore, the NSET technique is an example of a 3Rs refinement, an alternative to a surgical procedure, which will lead the way for improved assisted reproductive techniques in mice.