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Graph depicting bell curve for breeding performance of mice

Sizing Mouse Colonies: A Beginner's Guide


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Full course description

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MiniCourse Overview

Do you find that the production of your experimental mouse colonies is not matching your research needs? Are you unsure of how many breeders to set up to produce the numbers of mice needed for studies? Are you estimating animal costs for a grant or trying to plan the expected number of animals needed for your Animal Care and Use Protocol?  In this MiniCourse, we will provide essential information on how to accurately size your experimental steady state mouse colonies to provide regular, consistent production of the mice you need using a minimum of resources.

This MiniCourse is self-paced and takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. At the end of the MiniCourse, you will be able to size your experimental mouse colonies. You will receive a certificate for completing the MiniCourse. In order to claim a certificate or badge for this MiniCourse, you must go through the Core Content module and take the self-review quiz (scoring at least 70%). 

The following topics will be discussed:
  • Essential breeding performance data
  • Breeding performance statistics
  • Matching colony output to research needs
  • Utilizing the JAX® Breeding Colony Size Planning Worksheet
  • Maintaining mixed age colonies
  • Calculating additional female replacement breeders
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you will be able to:
    1. Comprehend the importance of maintaining a steady state mouse colony
    2. Accurately calculate weaned pups per female per week (WPF)
    3. Identify what other essential breeding performance data to collect
    4. Analyze research needs that significantly affect colony size to determine colony output needs
    5. Calculate colony size using breeding performance data and colony output needs utilizing the JAX Breeding Colony Size Planning Worksheet
    6. Identify how colony output decisions impact colony size
    7. Identify how maintaining mixed age colonies promotes more consistent breeding performance
    8. Determine when to factor female replacement breeders into your colonies

Target Audience

This MiniCourse is designed to meet the needs of people who are new to utilizing laboratory mice for genetic and genomic research projects, including: graduate and postdoctoral students, research assistants, early career scientists, lab technicians and advanced undergraduates with a background in biology.

About our Education Offerings

Founded in 1929, The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution with more than 2,300 employees who are passionate about our mission: to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and to empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.

While we are not an accredited higher education institution, we offer a variety of education programs — including our non-credit bearing MiniCourses — designed to educate current and future scientists and to provide critical resources, data, tools and services to researchers worldwide.

MiniCourses are created and reviewed by multiple JAX faculty, scientists, educators and other experts, and include interactive content based on the live lectures delivered in our on-campus Courses, Conferences and Workshops.

MiniCourses are available to learners individually and in topical program collections, which are organized around both foundational content and the research areas in which The Jackson Laboratory has earned a reputation for scientific leadership and excellence.

Hardware and Software Requirements

  • Audio speakers or headphones
  • Screen resolution of 800X600 or higher
  • Adobe Reader 5.0 or higher
  • JavaScript enabled
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 2GHz processor

Check the basic computer specifications and supported browsers.  Internet Explorer is not supported.
Should you have questions regarding the content of the MiniCourse or if you need technical support, please email Online and Digital Education at The Jackson Laboratory.