Provide Feedback To Reduce Administrative Burden on Zebrafish Larvae Research

Funding News Edition: June 02, 2021
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NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) seeks input on how to reduce administrative burden while continuing to apply the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to zebrafish (Danio rerio) immediately after hatching.

Read the request for information (RFI) on Flexibilities To Reduce Administrative Burden While Continuing To Apply the PHS Policy to Zebrafish Immediately After Hatching for complete details.

At Issue

The recent report Reducing Administrative Burden for Researchers: Animal Care and Use in Research proposes changing the applicability of the PHS Policy to zebrafish larvae from immediately after hatching (typically three days post-fertilization) to when larvae begin free feeding (five to seven days post-fertilization).

However, OLAW interprets the PHS policy’s definition of a live vertebrate animal to apply to zebrafish immediately after hatching, as the PHS policy defines an animal as “any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related purposes.” Postponing the applicability of the PHS policy to zebrafish larvae until later developmental stages may negatively impact animal welfare.

OLAW will continue to require full implementation of the PHS policy to research studies involving zebrafish immediately after hatching. This includes requiring assured institutions to have policies and procedures in place that address the care of euthanasia of animals that hatch unexpectedly.

Refer to OLAW’s Zebrafish webpage for more information.

Suggested Flexibilities

To reduce the administrative burden in research involving zebrafish while maintaining oversight immediately after hatching, institutions may find it beneficial to:

  • Generate only approximate numbers of animals to be used, as described in PHS Policy IV.D.1.A. The institution establishes how to determine what constitutes approximate numbers, within reason.
  • Use designated member review to evaluate research projects with zebrafish unless full committee review is requested.
  • Include a zebrafish researcher or technician as an ad hoc consultant or a subject matter expert to assist in developing tracking, animal care, and euthanasia methods.

Share Your Feedback

Submit comments through the RFI webpage linked above by August 9, 2021.

Do not include any personally identifiable or other information that you do not wish to make public. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in responses.

Direct inquiries to Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

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