UK labs made 1.9 million transgenic animals last year

Decade-long rise of genetically modified animal breeding levelled off in 2017 — although transgenic zebrafish are gaining in popularity.

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The production of genetically modified animals for research has levelled off in UK laboratories, after a decade that saw a 37% rise in the number bred. Last year, 1.9 million of these animals were produced, about the same as the year before, according to annual statistics released by the UK government on 19 July.

Another 1.9 million experimental procedures, including those used for basic research, drug studies and surgical training, were conducted on animals last year — a 7% drop since 2016 and a 17% decline since 2008 (See 'Research Animals').

In contrast to other popular lab species, such as mice, that saw declines in the number of procedures performed, research on fish jumped last year, from 287,000 to 308,000 in 2016. This is mainly due to the experimental use of transgenic zebrafish, which have grown in popularity as models for human disease.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05808-4
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