assess the animal's behavior based on what is normal for that individual animal. How then do we deal with the assessment of who has the expertise to make the appropriate distinction between normal and abnormal? I submit that sometimes the investigator, although biased, may have much more knowledge about the animal's normal behavior than the veterinarian or the IACUC member.
DR. BAYNE: I agree, and if I were an IACUC member, I would not want to rely on just one source person. For example, the expertise of rodent caretakers is different from that of primate behaviorists. An institution probably has many, many different resources which the IACUC should use. With regard to PIs, they have typically studied certain animals in graduate school, they tend to work with the same species, and they know their animal models very well indeed.
Transgenic animals, of course, are developing a variety of behavioral profiles that are different from what we consider those of the standard mice. If that development is normal for that transgenic animal, then it becomes your baseline. As in any good scientific study, you need to evaluate your baseline. You need to be certain that your baseline is not changing and that you do not apply the same one to every study.
A good IACUC is going to be very proactive in probing, asking questions, and becoming very knowledgeable in their institution's talent and the relevant published literature.