Animal species

The animal species used in research at TNO are shown in Table 2. The species used for a specific test depends on the predictive value for humans or on legislation. Traditionally rodents (mice, rats and guinea pigs) have mainly been used given the plentiful availability of historical data. However, rodents are not always the best model for humans and so other species and transgenic mice are sometimes used. The use of animal species with better predictability prevents unnecessary testing.

In 2017 TNO almost exclusively used rodents in its research, mice (90%), guinea pigs (6%) and rats (3%). Over four fifth of the mice are transgenic mice. Since these animals contain a human gene, they are suitable for research into human diseases. TNO breeds most of these specific mice itself. A key aspect here is to use the animals that are born as efficiently as possible, and one way that TNO achieves this is to coordinate the breeding centrally so that demand and supply are matched as much as possible.

Table 2: Animal species and numbers used at TNO in 2017

Reuse of animals

If research requires the use of animal organs or tissue, TNO makes every effort to prevent the death of animals for these specific purposes. TNO has a partnership agreement with Utrecht University and several other research institutes in the Netherlands to obtain organs and tissue from amongst others pigs sacrificed for the purpose of training veterinary students or pigs that have been used in previous studies. For research into the intestinal uptake of substances requiring fresh intestinal material, TNO received intestinal material from 6 pigs and 1 dog.

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