3 Minute 3Rs June 2020

You’re listening to the June episode of 3 Minute 3Rs.

The papers behind the pod:

  1. A novel, high-welfare methodology for evaluating poultry red mite interventions in vivo. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030440171930041X
  2. Pluripotent state transitions coordinate morphogenesis in mouse and human embryos. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24675


It’s the Third Thursday of June and you’re listening to 3 Minute 3Rs, your monthly recap of efforts to replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research. Instead of the usual 3 segments this month, we’re featuring two, in recognition of the two winners of the 2019 3Rs Prize, awarded by the NC3Rs and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. We’ll start with a recap of Dr. Francesca Nunn’s paper on red mite interventions in poultry.



[NA3RsC] Laying hens can be infested with poultry red mites which causes major economic and animal welfare issues. These mites can cause anemia, reduced production, and even death. Current treatments are often inadequate and research methods to find new treatments typically have poor translation to field trials.


A recent paper in Veterinary Parasitology describes a novel, high-welfare method for evaluating poultry red mite interventions in vivo. This paper is the winner of 2020 NC3Rs 3Rs Prize award.


Nuun and colleagues developed and optimized a sealed mesh device that attaches to a hen’s thigh. The depth and width of the mesh is precisely sized to both contain the mites and allow them to feed on the hens. This device will both reduce and refine the use of animals in research by allowing efficient pre-screening of new treatments before they enter large field trials. To learn more, read the full paper online.


[NC3Rs] The second winner of the 2019 3Rs Prize award is Dr Marta Shahbazi from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology for her work reducing the number of mice needed for embryonic developmental research.


Historically embryos have been difficult to culture beyond the implantation stage of pregnancy. But with up to 40 per cent of pregnancies ending by implantation, it’s a critical stage to understand. So researchers typically use extensive breeding programmes to generate transgenic mice and retrieve embryos needed for experiments with invasive surgeries.


Now, building upon previous research, Marta and colleagues have established advanced 3D cultures of human and mouse embryonic stem cells to mimic the embryo at implantation. Using these cultures, they’ve been able to study the cellular events triggering implantation in greater detail than ever before. Not only that, they’ve also replaced the use of 500 mice. 


Groups worldwide are now adopting the cultures to answer their own biological questions about embryonic development. Why not join them, and check out Marta’s prize-winning research by following the link in the description.

With congratulations to Dr. Nunn and Dr. Shahbazi, that’ll do it for June! 3 Minute 3Rs is brought to you by the NC3Rs, the North American 3Rs Collaborative, and Lab Animal. Come back in July for three more 3rs papers. 


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