What is a model organism ?
A model organism is a species studied with the objective of deciphering particular biological processes. The relevance of the choice of the model species is based on the following criteria:
The 3R: Reduce, Refine and Replace rules
Animal welfare is an important concern of research actors, and new regulations to control and limit the use of animal experimentation have emerged in recent years.
The number of animals used for the experiment is determined before the protocol, and should correspond to the strict minimum necessary to validate the study.
This rule aims to improve the living conditions of laboratory animals, as well as to reduce their stress and pain.
If the study allows it, replace in vivo experiments with experiments on tissues or cells grown in vitro.
When in vitro experiments are not possible (for example, to study the impact of a molecule on an entire organism), the substitution of a sensitive organism by a organism known less sensitive to the conditions of experimentation is preferred.
European and French legislation
Five more decrees have been added regarding:
French associations on animal welfare in Science
The AFSTAL : The French Association of Laboratory Animal Science and Technology (AFSTAL) brings together people working in all fields related to laboratory animals (zootechnicians, technicians, biologists, breeders…) and aims at answering current questions about animal experimentation. AFSTAL also proposes exchange days (Com’Tech, Com’Vet, Com’Prim) that can be used for the continuous training of personnel handling animals.
OPAL : The Association for Experimental Research and Protection of Laboratory Animals (OPAL) promotes and supports any action in favour of laboratory animals welfare and respect, like the development of alternatives methods of study.