*NEW* IACUC Policy: Testing of Biological Materials for Pathogens


The IACUC has provided a set of guidance documents (Policies, Guidelines, and Informational Sheets) for use when planning animal procedures at the University of Iowa. An exception to a Policy must be described and justified in the Animal Protocol and approved by the full IACUC at a convened monthly meeting.


This policy describes the required testing of biological materials introduced into rodents housed in Office of Animal Resources facilities at the University of Iowa.


Administration of human or animal tissues or other biological materials into animals, especially rodents, is a common research practice. These materials may be contaminated with a variety of agents that may be infectious to humans or animals and potentially jeopardize the health of both. Additionally, contaminating pathogens may act as a confounding variable on research results.  Collaborative research is the rule rather than the exception in today’s research environment. As rodents, especially mice, and biological materials including cell lines are shared between investigators within and between institutions, it greatly facilitates collaborative research to ensure pathogen free animals and biological samples.

Rodent colonies within the Animal Facilities at the University of Iowa are screened for infectious diseases and are maintained free of viruses and other microbial agents capable of interfering with research. The health of the colonies and the integrity of research can be endangered by inadvertent introduction of untested biological material carrying pathogens.


  • No procedure, including introduction of biological material into an animal, may be performed without approval in an Animal Protocol.
  • Covered rodent biological materials must be demonstrated free of defined rodent pathogens prior to administration to a rodent housed in OAR animal housing.
  • Covered rodent biologic materials include the following:
    • Cultured or primary cells, tissues, infectious agents, or serum/plasma that originates in a rodent species (mouse, rat, or other rodent)
    • Cells, tissues, infectious agents, or serum/plasma from humans and other non-rodent animals which have been exposed to rodents or rodent biologics either directly (in vivo passage) or indirectly (via tissue culture or treatment)


Further details on the implementation of this Policy (including exemptions) may be found in the Guidance and Procedures for Rodent Biologic Testing.


Last Reviewed 4/12/17