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The reduction of laboratory animal numbers requires that the information acquired from animal research is exploited as efficiently as possible. All studies must be appropriately designed, and they must favour research techniques that enable reliable results with the use of minimum number of animals.

New technological opportunities

There are new technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 that can produce genetic modifications with a significantly reduced number of animals, compared to earlier technology. CRISPR Cas9 should be first applied to tissue cultures to establish the accuracy of the gene modification.

New imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), often allow the reproducible imaging of one animal, greatly reducing the number of animals required and avoiding the need to euthanize the animals for study.

Biobanks for researchers

The use of laboratory animals can be reduced by using tissue samples stored at biobanks. Large cryo-tanks for long-term sample storage are available for laboratory animal tissues and human tissues. For example, from animal studies whose primary purpose is to examine the effect of an active pharmaceutical ingredient on the brain should also be collected samples from other organs, such as the small intestine, liver, and heart, into a biobank.