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Animal Research

4. Use of Model Organisms

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In the fourth mini-lecture, we look at the use of model organisms in scientific research. With the ability to genetically modify organisms, animal research that involves the creation and breeding of genetically altered animals has increased dramatically in the past 30-40 years. What benefits does genetic modification have on animals used in research? Certain organisms of different types have become ‘model organisms’: species used to study specific biological processes. In this lecture we examine the use of zebrafish, and why they are so particularly useful to study for scientists. We continue by looking at the nuance of studying ‘lower’ organisms such as zebrafish, and how even the most well-known abolitionists start to compromise on their use.


In this lecture, Dr Chris Willmott (University of Leicester) introduces the use of animals in scientific research. To do so, we begin by: (i) contextualising animal research in the UK, analysing the species used and regulated, and the number of different species and animals of each species used; before (ii) looking at the ethical theories that govern opinion on animal research, including how public opinion on it has shifted, but also how itself has affected legislation in the UK; and then (iii) learning about the three ‘R’s of animal research; then (iv) continuing to understand the nuance of opinion by looking at the use of model organisms such as zebrafish; before finally (v) understanding the use of invertebrates in research.


Dr Chris Willmott is an academic and author based in the UK. He has particular interests in: bioethics, pedagogy (including the development of innovative teaching activities and "authentic assessment"), the use of broadcast media and other audiovisual resources in education, and antibiotic resistance

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APA style

Willmott, C. (2022, August 30). Animal Research - Use of Model Organisms [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Willmott, C. "Animal Research – Use of Model Organisms." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Aug 2022,

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