Smartrac Contributes to Fraunhofer Institute’s Research
The naked mole-rat, aka the sand puppy, may not be the cutest or most impressive of mammals, but it captivates scientists with its longevity and its resistance to cancer. To better explore these remarkable creatures, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig, Germany, uses Smartrac’s INTRACE® SYRINGE implanting system with the smallest glass tag on the market (1.25mm x 8.3 mm) to ensure maximum animal protection.
Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization and became world-famous as the primary inventor of the MP3 audio compression standard. The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig investigates and develops solutions to specific problems at the interface of medicine, life sciences and engineering. Among others, important research areas for the Fraunhofer IZI are immune-oncology, aging processes and the microbiome. For all these research areas, the naked mole-rat is a very interesting animal. It is known to achieve an age of more than 30 years while comparable mammals generally live for no more than eight years (e.g. the guinea pig). Furthermore, the rodent does not get cancer: its cells cannot even be experimentally transformed into cancer cells. These and other characteristics make this extraordinary animal fascinating for researchers.
Sensitive Laboratory Animals, Complex Environment
Yet, naked mole-rats are not the easiest subjects: the anatomy of their ears excludes the possibility of using the ear tags typically used. Another challenge is the high number of individuals in the living area. While mice live in cages that rarely house more than five individuals, colonies of up to 40 naked-mole rats live together in a maze of glass tubes and cages.
A Perfect Combination: GLASS TAG and INTRACE RH5 Handheld Reader
To cope with these challenges, and to be able to monitor the individual values of their naked mole-rats, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology decided to individually tag them subcutaneously and in a considerate manner using Smartrac's smallest GLASS TAG with LF operating frequency. Currently, the researchers house 45 animals in two colonies. In each colony, there is a queen giving birth regularly, two to three times a year, to 5-15 pups. All adult animals and every young animal over six months old are tagged. To read the tags, the Fraunhofer Institute uses the all-new INTRACE RH5 handheld reader that enables contactless identification inside the maze and without any manual intervention, thereby highly reducing the animal’s stress level.
Reliability and Convenient Handling
“We opted for Smartrac’s GLASS TAG and animal identification system as it provides suitable transponder units for the diminutive naked mole-rats. In combination with Smartrac’s handheld reader we have a solution that is reliable, convenient and easy to handle for us as researchers, and as gentle as possible for the creatures we want to explore and respect at the same time,” said Dr. Franziska Lange, Co-Head of the Center for Experimental Medicine at Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology.
For further technical and pricing information on Smartrac’s glass tags and animal identification systems, please contact our Sales & Customer Service Team.