Why are mice so important in biomedical research?
As the most common research mammal in the world, mice are key to many aspects of biomedical research and, in turn, scientific and medical advancements. Without mice, we would lack a crucial understanding of major diseases, including cancer and genetic disorders like muscular dystrophy, which has led to lasting benefits for humans and animals alike. It was only due to studies in mice and other animals, for example, that we were able to develop vaccines for Covid-19, and at such a rapid rate.
By using mice, researchers can study how these diseases work in a living organism, and, importantly, in one that is a good match for humans in many aspects. These principles then underpin the development and testing of new drugs, therapies and interventions. It is therefore not surprising to find that mice are the most used animal for scientific purposes in the EU, making up more than half (52.5%) of the total number of animals used in research – 5,459,433 animals in 2019.
Read the article of the European Animal Research Association and explore some of the research areas in which mice have played a central role, as well as the discoveries and breakthroughs that have come about as a result, and the efforts in Europe to reduce, replace and refine their use.