Reproducibility of animal research in light of biological variation

Bernhard Voelkl, Naomi S. Altman, Anders Forsman, Wolfgang Forstmeier, Jessica Gurevitch, Ivana Jaric, Natasha A. Karp, Martien J. Kas, Holger Schielzeth, Tom Van de Casteele, Hanno Würbel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Context-dependent biological variation presents a unique challenge to the reproducibility of results in experimental animal research, because organisms’ responses to experimental treatments can vary with both genotype and environmental conditions. In March 2019, experts in animal biology, experimental design and statistics convened in Blonay, Switzerland, to discuss strategies addressing this challenge. In contrast to the current gold standard of rigorous standardization in experimental animal research, we recommend the use of systematic heterogenization of study samples and conditions by actively incorporating biological variation into study design through diversifying study samples and conditions. Here we provide the scientific rationale for this approach in the hope that researchers, regulators, funders and editors can embrace this paradigm shift. We also present a road map towards better practices in view of improving the reproducibility of animal research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalNature reviews neuroscience
Volume21
Issue number7
Early online date2-Jun-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2-Jun-2020

Keywords

  • CEREBRAL-ISCHEMIA
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • INBRED STRAINS
  • MICE
  • MOUSE
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • STANDARDIZATION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • SCIENCE
  • NIH

Cite this