The gathering of data for research involving an animal usually involves invasive procedures or death for the experimental animals. But critical data may now be collected through a nonlethal procedure, according to a new paper for the forthcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.
In the paper “Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorbtiometry (DXA) Can Accurately and Non-Destructively Measure the Body Composition of Small, Free-Living Rodents,” Kalb Stevenson and Dr. Ian G. van Tets reveal that they have discovered that they can take a wide range of measurements accurately with a portable DXA device. These body composition measurements in small rodents—water, protein, minerals, lean, and fat—are critical for dietary and environmental research. Previous measurements taken in the field, though not lethal, relied on length and body mass calculations, which are often inaccurate; methods used on laboratory animals are often lethal, precluding longitudinal research.
Differing methods used in fieldwork and in the laboratory limited scientific collaboration. Legal and/or ethical barriers against invasive research on endangered species further hampered crucial studies. “We needed a way to accurately and consistently measure the body condition of small mammals recaptured at different times of the year and could not do so using traditional means” said Dr. van Tets “so we decided to test whether DXA analysis could solve this problem”.
In their NSF-funded study of the northern redbacked vole (Clethrionomys rutilus), Stevenson and van Tets took a broad set of measurements accurately by employing DXA, using X-rays and mathematical formulas to noninvasively measure body content. Even transponder tags used to track the rodents in the wild did not interfere with their measurement of fat mass, lean mass, bone mineral content, bone mineral density, and fat-free mass.
“DXA worked better than we expected” Stevenson said “The measurements were consistent with those obtained via chemical (proximate) analysis and required nothing more than the machine itself, a laptop, and a power source. As subjects are not harmed, we can use this technology to track changes in individual animals over time and already have DXA-based projects underway studying the effects of season and/or hibernation on the body composition of animals as diverse as voles, ground squirrels, and black bears.”
Portable DXA devices provide the opportunity for quick measurements in the field and the ability to take measurements over time, allowing researchers to account for environmental factors. And, finally, field researchers and laboratory researchers will be able to collaborate using comparable data, allowing an increased degree of scientific rigor in comparative physiological studies.
Rudy Faust | EurekAlert!
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2019 | Life Sciences