National Institute for Health (NIH) Accreditation

In May 1995, The Aplysia Resource Facility became the “National Resource for Aplysia” under a grant (RR10294) from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as the only government sanctioned provider of Aplysia in the United States.

The National Resource for Aplysia is a resource facility providing Aplysia californica (California sea hares or sea slugs) from larvae to adults, as well as their red algal food (Gracillaria). The Resource was established to provide cultured animals from a consistent regimen of feeding, temperature, photoperiod and other variables.

Photo Credit: Dr. Micha Spira, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Aplysia have been employed in the neuroscience field as a model for memory and learning, with potential for use in studies of addiction and nerve senescence and regeneration. Additionally it is being used in toxicology for developmental studies, in the natural products chemistry fields for isolation of novel anti-tumor and antibacterial compounds, and in the study of transport by digestive tissues. The National Resource for Aplysia supports basic biomedical research by providing investigators with the following customized services:

  • Large-scale production of Aplysia californica from all developmental stages and sizes.
  • Large-scale production of red seaweed (Gracilllaria sp.)
  • Culture of other species of Opisthobranch mollusks on a limited basis (e.g., A. brasilliana)
  • Specific pathology and physiological tests of animals as requested by investigators

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. Their mission is to promote science in search of knowledge that helps us understand the nature and behavior of living systems. The application of that knowledge is aimed to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

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