Animal experimentation has played a key role in biomedical research throughout history, but it has also been a cause of heated public, scientific and philosophical debate for hundreds of years. The use of animals as models for study of human anatomy and physiology began in ancient Greece and reemerged in the Renaissance, to satisfy scientific enquiry. This technique laid the foundations of scientific medical revolution in the following centuries. Animal experimentation has now developed to the point that animal models are employed in all fields of biomedical research including, but not limited to, molecular biology, immunology and infectious disease, pharmacology, oncology, transplantology and animal behavior. This article reviews the use of animals in biomedical research from a historical viewpoint, with a look at the ethical controversy.
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