Cinnamon rat pair, one in cardboard tube
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Rats are the second most commonly used animals in medical research, accounting for around 13% of all procedures. This image is from a UK research establishment in late 2007: please acknowledge © Understanding Animal Research.
The rat is a major animal model used in studies of organ transplantation. Many of the advances in our understanding of the immune mechanism involved in tissue rejection have come from studies in the rat: it is large enough to make surgical procedures relatively easy to perform and much is known about its immune system. Potential medicines are routinely tested on rats for efficacy and safety before they go into human clinical trials.