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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Mar;40:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Female mice liberated for inclusion in neuroscience and biomedical research.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology and Institute for Mind and Biology, University of Chicago, United States.
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, United States; Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, United States. Electronic address: irvzuck@berkeley.edu.

Abstract

The underrepresentation of female mice in neuroscience and biomedical research is based on the assumption that females are intrinsically more variable than males and must be tested at each of four stages of the estrous cycle to generate reliable data. Neither belief is empirically based. In a meta-analysis of 293 articles, behavioral, morphological, physiological, and molecular traits were monitored in male mice and females tested without regard to estrous cycle stage; variability was not significantly greater in females than males for any endpoint and was substantially greater in males for several traits. Group housing of mice increased variability in both males and females by 37%. Utilization of female mice in neuroscience research does not require monitoring of the estrous cycle. The prevalence of sex differences at all levels of biological organization, and limitations in generalizing findings obtained with males to females, argue for the routine inclusion of female rodents in most research protocols.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Females; Males; Mice; Sex bias; Sex differences

PMID:
24456941
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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