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SHIRPA is a standardized set of experimental procedures used by scientists to characterize the phenotype of genetically modified laboratory mice. The protocols are designed to test muscle function, cerebellar function, sensory function and neuropsychiatric function.[1]


SHIRPA is an acronym of SmithKline Beecham, Harwell, Imperial College, Royal London Hospital, phenotype assessment), proposed in 1997 by a group of researchers from a number of British institutions and the pharmaceutical company, SmithKline Beecham.[2][3] There are up to 40 tests in SHIRPA, across three screens of increasing complexity and specialization.[2] The first describes the behaviour of the mouse subject by observation. The second involves a more thorough behavioural assessment and includes pathological analysis. The third screening stage is focused on potential animal models of neurological disease.[3][4]

Testing of mutant mice[edit]

The protocol has been used to test several mutant mice, including dystrophin-deficient mutants,[5] transgenic models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis[6] and Alzheimer's disease,[7] and a spontaneous mutant with degeneration of the cerebellum.[8]


The first part of the SHIRPA protocol was changed to include observations on morphology and dysmorphology. This protocol became known as the "modified SHIRPA" and has been used to screen for dominant phenotypes in mice.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hatcher JP, Jones DN, Rogers DC, et al. (November 2001). "Development of SHIRPA to characterise the phenotype of gene-targeted mice". Behav. Brain Res. 125 (1–2): 43–7. doi:10.1016/s0166-4328(01)00275-3. PMID 11682092.
  2. ^ a b Nolan PM, Peters J, Strivens M, et al. (August 2000). "A systematic, genome-wide, phenotype-driven mutagenesis programme for gene function studies in the mouse". Nat. Genet. 25 (4): 440–3. doi:10.1038/78140. PMID 10932191.
  3. ^ a b Rogers, D. C.; Fisher, E. M. C.; Brown, S. D. M.; Peters, J.; Hunter, A. J.; Martin, J. E. (1997). "Behavioral and functional analysis of mouse phenotype: SHIRPA, a proposed protocol for comprehensive phenotype assessment". Mammalian Genome. 8 (10): 711–713. doi:10.1007/s003359900551. PMID 9321461.
  4. ^ Rogers DC, Peters J, Martin JE, et al. (June 2001). "SHIRPA, a protocol for behavioral assessment: validation for longitudinal study of neurological dysfunction in mice". Neurosci. Lett. 306 (1–2): 89–92. doi:10.1016/S0304-3940(01)01885-7. PMID 11403965.
  5. ^ Rafael JA, Nitta Y, Peters J, Davies KE (September 2000). "Testing of SHIRPA, a mouse phenotypic assessment protocol, on Dmd(mdx) and Dmd(mdx3cv) dystrophin-deficient mice". Mamm. Genome. 11 (9): 725–8. doi:10.1007/s003350010149. PMID 10967129.
  6. ^ Lalonde R, Eyer J, Wunderle V, Strazielle C (May 2003). "Characterization of NFH-LacZ transgenic mice with the SHIRPA primary screening battery and tests of motor coordination, exploratory activity, and spatial learning". Behav Proc. 63 (1): 9–19. doi:10.1016/S0376-6357(03)00013-5. PMID 12763264.
  7. ^ Lalonde R, Dumont M, Staufenbiel M, Strazielle C (February 2005). "Neurobehavioral characterization of APP23 transgenic mice with the SHIRPA primary screen". Behav. Brain Res. 157 (1): 91–8. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2004.06.020. PMID 15617775.
  8. ^ Jacquelin C, Strazielle C, Lalonde R (September 2011). "Neurologic function during developmental and adult stages in Dab1(scm) (scrambler) mutant mice". Behav. Brain Res. 226 (1): 265–273. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.09.020. PMID 21945093.
  9. ^ Masuya H, Inoue M, Wada Y, et al. (November 2005). "Implementation of the modified-SHIRPA protocol for screening of dominant phenotypes in a large-scale ENU mutagenesis program". Mamm. Genome. 16 (11): 829–37. doi:10.1007/s00335-005-2430-8. PMID 16284798.