Standardizing the laboratory environment may be doing science more harm than good: Removing all variability from animal experiments makes them less reproducible, rather than more, according to a study published online today in Nature Methods.
The study "is certainly a clear demonstration of why standardization can indeed decrease reproducibility, and I hope that from now on this idea will appear less counterintuitive in the field," linkurl:Neri Kafkafi; at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research, wrote in an email. Animal researchers have generally assumed that standardizing lab conditions as much as possible provides the cleanest experimental results, and makes it easier for other labs to reproduce the findings. But recent studies have cast doubt on that view -- especially as researchers increasingly struggle with knockout mouse strains in which the phenotype they're studying varies depending on the strain of mice. Kafkafi,...
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