Use of animal models in research
Animal models are used in research in order to perform experiments that would otherwise not be possible; for instance, due to time restrictions when studying development, or because of ethical reasons when studying human diseases. The results are then extrapolated to human beings.
The criterion used to select the animal model depends on the objective of the study, but one of the most important considerations is the degree of conservation of the studied process in humans. Thus the similarity of the animal model is very important when aiming to apply the conclusions of the experiment to humans. The most common animal models utilized in research are mice and rats.
The main disadvantage of this approach is the need of maintaining expensive animal facilities. Usually, research centers have a common service that is shared by all research groups.