DARWIN Animal Care and Use Software

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Darwin is an on-line Animal Use Protocol and animal facility management software powered by eSirius. It is used by researchers, Committee members, animal facility staff, veterinarians and administrators at McGill University and Research Institutes of Affiliated Hospitals. Submissions and approvals are now fully electronic and centralized. 

The acquisition was the result of a comprehensive evaluation and selection process in which many investigators, committee members, animal facility managers, veterinarians, animal health technicians, administrators and information technology experts participated. 


Recent changes:

Starting Aug. 23 2017 at 6 pm, some changes were applied to the protocol form. Most of the changes are enhancements requested by users and some are in preparation for the 3G upgrade (for a faster and more flexible version of Darwin).

The requested changes include the following:

  • Removing the entire section 33-SOP Deviation. Any deviation from SOPs should be flagged and detailed in the appropriate section (for example, if deviating from euthanasia SOPs, should flag it and supply details in the euthanasia section 29);
  • For the section 22- Strain:
  1. A new question is added asking if breeding this strain;  
  2. The words ‘Phenotype’ and ‘Distress’ are put in caps for emphasis;
  3. An example was added at the end of the question to read ‘Why is this strain is necessary? (Example of an answer: This knock out is prone to obesity.)’;
  4. The answer to the question ‘Why is this strain is necessary…’ must be provided or an error message will appear.
  • For section 14- Transportation of Animals: adding to the question "… moving to any location other than the animal facility" to help clarify the question;
  • In section 27- Hazardous Agents, adding a question about the volume administered.
  • For section 29- Euthanasia: added to the question "B)" if deviating from applicable SOPs.’;
  • Darwin-produced email notifications related to protocol amendments will start including the amendment’s number to help users better track its progress.

The 3G upgrade is still undergoing customization and testing and it is a long process. One of the differences with this major upgrade is the removal of the capability of users to add to the drop down lists while writing a protocol or amendment. A large number of issues and glitches came from this feature so the software vendor removed it from the upgrade, except for strains.

In order to clean up the drop down lists for our 3G, we need to remove the capability to add to drop down lists in our current version to prevent new additions. We will include an instruction in all applicable protocol sections in which we instruct users that if what they want is not in the drop down list, they are to click on the hyperlinked Web form to make a request that the item be added. The Animal Compliance Office will quickly add it to the drop down list. Note that the lists already have many items.

The sections which will not have the capability to add to the drop down lists anymore while writing a protocol or amendment and will now have a hyperlink to request an addition are:

  • Section 18 - Species List
  • Section 25 - Non-surgical procedures
  • Section 26 - Surgical Procedures List
  • Section 27 – Hazardous Material List
  • Section 28 – Drugs and Other Substances List
  • Section 29 – Euthanasia Methods List

As always, if you encounter issues or have questions, do not hesitate to contact darwin [at] mcgill.ca (Darwin Support.)