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Animal testing on invertebrates

animal testing on invertebrates animals, animal testing on invertebrates and vertebrates
Most animal testing involves invertebrates, especially Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly, and Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode These animals offer scientists many advantages over vertebrates, including their short life cycle, simple anatomy and the ease with which large numbers of individuals may be studied Invertebrates are often cost-effective,1 as thousands of flies or nematodes can be housed in a single room

With the exception of some cephalopods, invertebrate species are not protected under most animal research legislation, and therefore the total number of invertebrates used remains unknowncitation needed


  • 1 Main uses
  • 2 See also
  • 3 References
  • 4 Further reading
  • 5 External links

Main usesedit

Animal testing

Main articles
Animal testing
Alternatives to animal testing
Testing on: invertebrates
frogs · primates
rabbits · rodents
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History of animal testing
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Research on invertebrates is the foundation for current understanding of the genetics of animal development C elegans is especially valuable as the precise lineage of all the organism's 959 somatic cells is known, giving a complete picture of how this organism goes from a single cell in a fertilized egg, to an adult animal2 The genome of this nematode has also been fully sequenced and any one of these genes can easily be inactivated through RNA interference, by feeding the worms antisense RNA3 A major success in the work on C elegans was the discovery that particular cells are programmed to die during development, leading to the discovery that programmed cell death is an active process under genetic control4 The simple nervous system of this nematode allows the effects of genetics on the development of nerves to be studied in detail5 However, the lack of an adaptive immune system and the simplicity of its organs prevent C elegans from being used in medical research such as vaccine development2

The fly D melanogaster is the most widely used animal in genetic studies This comes from the simplicity of breeding and housing the flies, which allows large numbers to be used in experiments Molecular biology is relatively simple in these organisms and a huge variety of mutant and genetically modified flies have been developed6 Fly genetics has been vital in the study of development, the cell cycle, behavior, and neuroscience The similarities in the basic biochemistry of all animals allows flies to be used as simple systems to investigate the genetics of conditions such as heart disease and neurodegenerative disease78 However, like nematodes, D melanogaster is not widely used in applied medical research, as the fly immune system differs greatly from that found in humans,9 and diseases in flies can be very different from diseases in humans10

Other uses of invertebrates include studies on social behavior

See alsoedit

  • Animal testing on non-human primates
  • Animal testing on rodents
  • Testing cosmetics on animals
  • Pain in invertebrates


  1. ^ Andre, RG, RA Wirtz, and YT Das 1989 "Insect Models for Biomedical Research" Archived October 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine In: Nonmammalian Animal Models for Biomedical Research, AD Woodhead Editor, CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL Retrieved November 13, 2008
  2. ^ a b Schulenburg H, Kurz CL, Ewbank JJ 2004 "Evolution of the innate immune system: the worm perspective" Immunol Rev 198: 36–58 PMID 15199953 doi:101111/j0105-289620040125x 
  3. ^ Lee J, Nam S, Hwang SB, et al 2004 "Functional genomic approaches using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system" J Biochem Mol Biol 37 1: 107–13 PMID 14761308 doi:101016/jcbpc200406015 permanent dead link
  4. ^ McCarthy JV 2003 "Apoptosis and development" Essays Biochem 39: 11–24 PMID 14585071 doi:101042/bse0390011 
  5. ^ Seifert M, Schmidt E, Baumeister R 2006 "The genetics of synapse formation and function in Caenorhabditis elegans" Cell Tissue Res 326 2: 273–85 PMID 16896949 doi:101007/s00441-006-0277-2 
  6. ^ Dietzl G, Chen D, Schnorrer F, et al 2007 "A genome-wide transgenic RNAi library for conditional gene inactivation in Drosophila" Nature 448 7150: 151–6 PMID 17625558 doi:101038/nature05954 
  7. ^ Marsh JL, Thompson LM 2004 "Can flies help humans treat neurodegenerative diseases" BioEssays 26 5: 485–96 PMID 15112229 doi:101002/bies20029 
  8. ^ Bier E, Bodmer R 2004 "Drosophila, an emerging model for cardiac disease" Gene 342 1: 1–11 PMID 15527959 doi:101016/jgene200407018 
  9. ^ Leclerc V, Reichhart JM 2004 "The immune response of Drosophila melanogaster" Immunol Rev 198: 59–71 PMID 15199954 doi:101111/j0105-289620040130x 
  10. ^ Mylonakis E, Aballay A 2005 "Worms and flies as genetically tractable animal models to study host-pathogen interactions" Infect Immun 73 7: 3833–41 PMC 1168613  PMID 15972468 doi:101128/IAI7373833-38412005 

Further readingedit


  • Lawrence PA "The Making of a Fly: The Genetics of Animal Design" Blackwell Publishing Limited March 1, 1992 ISBN 0-632-03048-8
  • Demerec M "Biology of Drosophila" Macmillan Pub Co January 2000 ISBN 0-02-843870-1
  • Hall, DH "C Elegans Atlas" Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press November 30, 2007 ISBN 0-87969-715-6


  • Goldstein LSB, Ed Fryberg EA "Methods in Cell Biology: Drosophila Melanogaster : Practical Uses in Cell and Molecular Biology" Academic Press January 1995 ISBN 0-12-564145-1
  • Epstein HF, Ed, Shakes DC "Methods in Cell Biology: Caenorhabditis Elegans : Modern Biological Analysis of an Organism" Academic Press October 1995 ISBN 0-12-240545-5

External linksedit

  • FlyBase Main Drosophila research database
  • WormBase Main C elegans research database

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Animal testing on invertebrates

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