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15.01.2024 10:58

Understanding the weal and woe at a glance

Sylvia Kreyssel-Minar Kommunikation
Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

    The Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz-Lipmann Institute (FLI) developed an assessment system for fish health

    Jena. The welfare of fish - that is what drives Dr. Beate Hoppe and her team every day. The animal keepers, scientists and veterinarians at the Leibniz Institute for Ageing Research (FLI) in Jena have spent six years meticulously collecting and evaluating data and have now published their findings in the Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS). What has long been standard practice for example in mouse farming is now also finding its way into fish farming worldwide: a system for assessing fish health and a program for routinely monitoring animal health – especially when raised for research reasons.

    Monitoring fish health is particularly relevant for research in biology of aging, because health is what aging is all about. The FLI has been maintaining killifish colonies for more than 15 years - with this pronounced expertise in fish, it was therefore a great need for the Jena scientists to make a fundamental contribution to how the health status of the animals can be reliably assessed at both individual and population level. For six years, the fish husbandry team inspected several thousand fish on a daily basis, observed their behavior and recorded the results in a database. Depending on the age of the fish, refusal to eat, restricted mobility or skin changes, for example, can be important indicators of illness. This was supplemented by the findings of external, quarterly health monitoring. Based on this large amount of data, the FLI experts were able to develop the assessment system that has now been published.

    "This is extremely helpful for scientists," explains Dr. Hoppe. "In case of doubt, a glance at the score of an individual fish can now provide information on whether it is suitable for research purposes or not." The biologist also sees great added value for fish farms, for example in zoos and aquariums: "Responsibility for animal health ultimately affects not only research, but far more areas," says Dr. Hoppe. It is hoped that the Jena development will be accepted and widely used.

    The Jena team's article will appear in the print edition of JAALAS at the end of this month. The evaluation templates can also be requested directly from Dr. Beate Hoppe. From summer on, it will be available worldwide via the JAALAS website and thus freely accessible.

    Further information
    The Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) – upon its inauguration in 2004 – was the first German research organization dedicated to research on the process of aging. More than 350 employees from around 40 nations explore the molecular mechanisms underlying aging processes and age-associated diseases. For more information, please visit

    The Leibniz Association connects 97 independent research institutions that range in focus from natural, engineering, and environmental sciences to economics, spatial, and social sciences and the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic, and ecological relevance. They conduct basic and applied research, including in the interdisciplinary Leibniz Research Alliances, maintain scientific infrastructure, and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer, particularly with the Leibniz research museums. It advises and informs policymakers, science, industry, and the general public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – including in the form of Leibniz ScienceCampi – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to a transparent, independent evaluation procedure. Because of their importance for the country as a whole, the Leibniz Association Institutes are funded jointly by Germany’s central and regional governments. The Leibniz Institutes employ around 20,500 people, including 11,500 researchers. The financial volume amounts to 2 billion euros. For more information:



    Daily routine: animal keeper Clemens Peters collects data on the health status of the fish at the FLI.
    Daily routine: animal keeper Clemens Peters collects data on the health status of the fish at the FL ...

    Portrait of Dr. Beate Hoppe
    Portrait of Dr. Beate Hoppe

    Merkmale dieser Pressemitteilung:
    Journalisten, Wissenschaftler
    Biologie, Ernährung / Gesundheit / Pflege, Medizin, Tier / Land / Forst
    Forschungsergebnisse, Wissenschaftliche Publikationen


    Daily routine: animal keeper Clemens Peters collects data on the health status of the fish at the FLI.

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    Portrait of Dr. Beate Hoppe

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