The marmoset, a type of small monkey native to South America, is a research model of increasing importance for biomedical research in the United States and globally. Marmosets offer a range of advantages as animal models in neuroscience, aging, infectious diseases, and other fields of study. They may be particularly useful for the development of new disease models using genetic engineering and assisted reproductive technologies. However, concerns have been voiced with respect to the development of new marmoset-based models of disease, ethical considerations for their use, the supply of marmosets available for research, and gaps in guidance for their care and management.
To explore and address these concerns, the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use hosted a public workshop, Care, Use, and Welfare of Marmosets as Animal Models for Gene Editing–Based Biomedical Research, on October 22–23, 2018, in Washington, DC. More than 400 participants joined the workshop in person or via the webcast, representing academia, industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. The workshop focused on the availability of marmosets in the United States and abroad; animal welfare and ethical considerations stemming from the use of wildtype and genetically modified marmosets; and standards of housing and care, dietary needs, and feeding requirements for marmosets in captivity.
The workshop was free and open to the public. This proceedings summarizes the presentations and discussions.
The New World primate, the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), is a research model of increasing importance for biomedical research in the United States and globally. To address both the elevated demand and the concomitant decreased availability for this species, an ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a workshop to
- Examine the availability of marmosets in the United States and abroad.
- Discuss animal welfare (e.g., the Three Rs: replacement, reduction, and refinement; risk/benefit analysis) and ethical considerations stemming from the use of wildtype and genetically modified marmosets.
- Discuss standards of housing and care, dietary needs and feeding requirements for wildtype as well as genetically modified marmosets in captivity.
A proceedings of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.
This proceedings was developed based on the presentations and discussions during the workshop. It begins with an overview of the use of marmosets as animal models, including historical context, current issues, and future prospects (Chapter 2). Chapter 3 explores ethical considerations, including both theoretical and practical approaches and concrete steps to address concerns and guide ethical practices. Next, current research applications in neuroscience, aging, infectious disease, and gene editing are explored (Chapter 4), followed by an overview of current knowledge regarding marmoset genomics and genetic diversity (Chapter 5). Chapter 6 addresses marmosets supply and availability, including a discussion of wild populations as well as approaches to transportation and breeding in captivity. Finally, practices for marmoset care and management are addressed in Chapter 7.
This proceedings is intended as a summary of key topics covered at the workshop. It was prepared by the workshop rapporteurs as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to organizing and convening the workshop. This workshop and proceedings address a major and complex set of issues in governance of life sciences research. The workshop could not give full consideration
to all issues, arguments, and references relevant to this topic; the views contained in the proceedings are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Detailed information, video recordings, and presentations from the workshop may be found at http://nas-sites.org/ilar-roundtable/roundtable-activities/care-use-and-welfare-of-marmosets-as-animal-models-for-gene-editing-based-biomedical-research.
Several other recent activities of the National Academies feature related topics and may be of interest to readers of this proceedings. These include a workshop titled Transgenic and Chimeric Neuroscience Research: Exploring the Scientific Opportunities Afforded by New Nonhuman Primate Models, held October 4, 2018 (available at http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Research/NeuroForum/2018-OCT-4.aspx), and a colloquium on Using Monkey Models to Understand and Develop Treatments for Human Brain Disorders, held January 7–8, 2019 (available at http://www.nasonline.org/programs/sackler-colloquia/completed_colloquia/using-monkey-models.html).
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