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Sanford Publishes Discovery of Environmental Impact on Mouse Strains Used for Disease Models

Study appears in Scientific Reports

David Pearce 150X150(Sioux Falls, SD) – A study addressing how location and sex can affect mouse models in scientific research authored by Sanford Research’s David Pearce, PhD, appears in July’s issue of Scientific Reports.

“Location- and sex-specific differences in weight and motor coordination in two commonly used mouse strains” focuses on the migration of Pearce’s mouse colony from the University of Rochester (NY) to Sioux Falls after his move to Sanford Research in 2009. Pearce found the shift in environment caused changes in the weight, motor coordination and motor learning capability of mice. Additionally, those changes also varied between male and female mice.

Differences between Rochester and Sioux Falls included, for example, diet and slightly adjusted testing protocols. In general, the mice in Sioux Falls were heavier and slower than those in Rochester. Pearce’s study reveals why scientists performing the same mouse-model research in two different labs may experience different outcomes.

Scientific Reports

“We have long thought that environmental factors can have an effect on behavioral experiments, which has caused us to wonder how well we can reproduce experiments in different settings,” said Pearce, Sanford Research’s vice president and chief operating officer. “In our move from Rochester to Sioux Falls, we found that many factors, including local diets and handling procedures, had a significant influence on how our mice models reacted.”

Pearce is one of the world’s top researchers of Batten disease and leads the Pearce Lab for Genetically Inherited Diseases of Children at Sanford Research.

Published by Nature, Scientific Reports is a primary research publication focused on timely, peer-reviewed papers authored by experts within their scientific field.

About Sanford Research/USD
Sanford Research/USD is a non-profit research organization formed between Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota. Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD and represents the largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation with a presence in 111 communities, eight states and three countries. In 2007, a transformational gift of $400 million by Denny Sanford provided for an expansion of children’s and research initiatives, specifically finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, and has given Sanford Research significant momentum in its goal of becoming one of the premiere research institutions in the United States and the world. Most recently, a subsequent gift of $100 million by Mr. Sanford has paved the way to establish Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research.

With a team of more than 200 researchers, Sanford Research comprises several research centers, including Children’s Health Research, Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Cancer Biology, Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention, Sanford Applied Biosciences and the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance (NIAHP)

Tim Gerszewski
Sanford Media Strategist – Sioux Falls Region
(605) 366-2432 / 
Follow me on Twitter @SanfordTimG