In almost all the medical research we learn about, we find that it was tested on a lab rat. Why is that?
I was watching a documentary in my health class last year, and in it, the researchers talked about how if the rats ate more food, they gained more weight and were unable to do things important to their daily lives.
This was then applied to humans; however, that logic isn’t always true. Mice and rats are used because of their convenience. You can have several generations of them in a short amount of time, which makes them easy to observe. They are also not expensive.
Mice, rats and humans are very similar. It may not appear so, but that’s because appearances can be deceiving. You have to look inside, at the genetics part.
Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Guess how many rats have? 21. And mice? 20.
These chromosomes have been found to be related very similarly. Ninety-five percent of all animals used for research in America are mice or rats. More than 80 percent of the research conducted on rodents doesn’t apply to humans. A specific type of rodent that is used shares 97 percent of DNA with humans. The 3 percent may not seem like a big difference, but it’s a humongous one.
Think about the differences between humans and rats. The most obvious is that we are about 3,000 times bigger than mice. The testing done on mice is very inaccurate when applied to humans, but unfortunately, this system is almost impossible to get rid of. It has been used since the 1800s, and federal law states that new testing cannot be done on humans unless it has been done on rodents first.
The reality of this is very sad as the effects of applying research done on rodents to humans can have serious and even devastating side effects, and the only reason that rodents are used is that they’re easier to use — for example, they have easily customizable genetics. The tests done on rodents can be dangerous to them and, inevitably, be dangerous to us.