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Animal research

17 - 06 - 2019

Mice, rats and humans

A French article entitled "Mice, rats and humans". In what way rodent models remain indispensable for the production of knowledge " was published in the latest issue of Medicine / Science. This article shows how rodents are important experimental models and gives examples of the knowledge they have brought.

The authors are two researchers from Sorbonne University, Paris.

After recalling that alternative or non-animal methods facilitate irreplaceable molecular or modeled methods, the authors point out that these approaches are reductive and that animal models remain indispensable in scientific and medical research.

Rodents (rats and mice) are the most used model organisms. In France, in 2017, 60% of animals used were mice and 10% of rats.

A table sums up the Nobel prizes in medicine and physiology that were made possible thanks to rodent models. The first dates back to 1928 on the pathogenesis of typhus, the most recent in 2014 looked at the "brain's GPS"!




The gigantic work done on mouse genetics for the past decades has made it possible both to reduce the variability in studies, to have numerous models and to study the impact of genetics on the biology of living organisms.

The rat is an animal model larger than the mouse and closer to humans. For these reasons, it is the model of choice for drug and chemical safety testing.

The authors present the limits of rodent models and ways to overcome them. For example, it is possible to use other animal biological models, non-animal models, or even non-invasive methods of investigation in humans.

The authors conclude by recalling that it is the complementarity of different approaches that constitutes the robustness of advances in research.