Are animal models predictive for humans?

Escrito por PEHM.

Niall Shanks1, Ray Greek2* and Jean Greek2

  • * Corresponding author: Ray Greek Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.

Author Affiliations

1 Wichita State University, Department of History, 1845 N Fairmont, Fiske Hall, Wichita KS 67260, USA

2 Americans For Medical Advancement, 2251 Refugio Rd Goleta, CA 93117, USA

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Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2009, 4:2 doi:10.1186/1747-5341-4-2

 The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: 

Received: 23 July 2008
Accepted: 15 January 2009
Published: 15 January 2009

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2009 Shanks et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Are animal models predictive for humans?


It is one of the central aims of the philosophy of science to elucidate the meanings of scientific terms and also to think critically about their application. The focus of this essay is the scientific term predict and whether there is credible evidence that animal models, especially in toxicology and pathophysiology, can be used to predict human outcomes. Whether animals can be used to predict human response to drugs and other chemicals is apparently a contentious issue. However, when one empirically analyzes animal models using scientific tools they fall far short of being able to predict human responses. This is not surprising considering what we have learned from fields such evolutionary and developmental biology, gene regulation and expression, epigenetics, complexity theory, and comparative genomics.

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