[The use of transgenic animals in biomedical research in Germany: Status Report 2001-2003] [Article in German]

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Ursula G. Sauer
Roman Kolar
Brigitte Rusche

Abstract

While the German Federal Government has set itself the goal to make an active contribution to reducing animal experiments, the use of transgenic animals in biomedical research continuously increases every year. It is against this background that the study at hand aimed at providing an overview over the goals and the contents of research projects performed in Germany, in the course of which transgenic animals were produced or used in experimental procedures. Specifically, it was envisaged to spell out those specific areas of research, for which transgenic animals mainly were being used. Subsequently it was evaluated whether the research goals revealed might also be pursued with non animal test methods. In a literature survey, a total of 577 scientific publications relevant for the purposes of the study were collected. This material enables conclusions on those scientific areas, in which transgenic animals are used, applying to fundamental research, but not on their use in routine procedures in applied research or for the maintenance of transgenic breeds, since such purposes do not tend to be the subject of publications in scientific journals. According to the topics covered by the publications, main areas of biomedical research with. transgenic animals can be found in the fields of neurobiology, immunology, cardiology, embryology and oncology. However their use can be discerned in all other areas of fundamental biomedical research as well. In accordance with the official German laboratory animal statistics, the vast majority of transgenic animals used were mice followed by rats and pigs, Additionally. singular research projects with fish, rabbits and chicken were recorded. (In the official German laboratory animals statistics, very small numbers of transgenic hamsters, sheep and amphibians were also recorded in the past years.) A high percentage of the rats were used in cardiovascular research, whereas transgenic pigs as a rule were produced and bred as organ donors in xenotransplantation research. The majority of research projects either dealt with the experimental use of already established transgenic animal lines, or they described that transgenic animals specifically were produced for the purpose of the respective research project. Mostly, transgenesis was initiated by inserting the foreign gene into the germ cell genome. In some research projects, it was reported that the transgenic material was inserted into normally bred animals some time after parturition.

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How to Cite
Sauer, U. G., Kolar, R. and Rusche, B. (2005) “[The use of transgenic animals in biomedical research in Germany: Status Report 2001-2003] [Article in German]”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 22(4), pp. 233–257. Available at: https://www.altex.org/index.php/altex/article/view/871 (Accessed: 28 June 2022).
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