Basic Biological Studies
Scientists actually know only a limited amount about the workings of human and animal bodies. It has been estimated that less than 25 percent of the chemical components of the body have ever been isolated and identified. Many more studies are needed if we are to truly understand what makes creatures live. How does the immune system fight cancer? How can we prevent birth defects of the heart or spinal cord? Why do certain people or animals develop bleeding disorders? Why must certain essential nutrients be supplied to only certain species? Why do some people get aching muscles and become winded after running and others do not? What makes animals get old and die? Why are some strains of mice more resistant to a disease than others? What can we do to help people learn more easily? How does the brain work? What physiological factors are involved in mental disorders, and how can they be treated? The list of questions and potential answers is endless.
Scientists often must use animals to explore the possible answers. For many studies, animals are used as sources of normal tissue for in vitro study after euthanasia. In some studies a specific chemical, type of cell, or organ will be altered to determine the subsequent change in biology. At other times, a variety of ongoing responses can be evaluated with a series of data recordings or collections of serum, cells, or tissues over an extended period of time.