Why Rats Are Used For Research?

Have you ever thought, why rats are used in research? Why do not scientists use other animals for research? Why do they use rats only? Which special or unique qualities they have? If we would give an answer in one line then, it is because of they have the same qualities as human being. That’s why scientists do use rat for research. But which qualities they have? Now we will study about it in details.

why rats are use for research

Rats Research Facts

Basically, rats or mice both used in research but rats have bigger size than mice. That’s why scientists mostly used rats. There are some facts related to it that’s why do scientists use rats for research. Which are following;

(1) Their physiological, physical or behavioral activities are same as human being.

(2) Their genes are similar to genes of human being, Now you are thinking that what is a gene?

What is a Gene?

All living beings are made up of many cells. Each cell has a nucleus which control the functions of cells. Chromosomes are found in nucleus. But number of chromosomes are fixed in all living beings for instance human being has 46 chromosomes while horse has 64 chromosomes. chromosomes are condensed form of DNA (Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid). DNA is a double stranded molecule in which have repeating units that are known as nucleotides. Nucleotides are made up of three things;

i) A Deoxyribose Sugar

ii) Phosphate Group

iii) Nitrogenous Group – Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, Thymine first strand of adenine make bond with second strand of thymine as same as guanine make bond with cytosine.

gene structure dna


This A=T, G=C make code sequences and, this code sequence is known as gene. 20,000 genes are found in our body. Code of these genes are read by mRNA and, that process is known as transcription. MRNA make proteins by reading these codes and this protein does used for structure, function, or regulation of different body tissues. Because of these genes, our physical or mental characters are different to each other. For example; skin color, hair color, intelligence, height these all characters are different in each and every person. 99.9% genes are same in human being, only 1% genes are different that’s why we are different from each other. Chimpanzee has 99% genes are similar to human being.

Rats Research Facts (Continue)

(3) So, 90% genes of rats are similar to human beings. That’s why scientists use rats for their research.

(4) Rats can start reproduction after 3 months from their birth. And, they can reproduce 2lacs babies in 18months. While human beings can reproduce only one child in 9 months. that’s why scientists used rats for their experiment. Cause they are present in large amount so if scientists use them there would be no loss.

(5) Their life span are 2-3 years. So, if they used for research, there would be no problem.

(6) Their brain looks similar to human brain. So it would be easier to study their tiny brain. Cause size of human’s brain are bigger than rat’s brain.

(7) Their digestive system, respiratory system, or other systems are similar to human beings. So, rather be we take human being for the experiment it would be easier to take rats for the experiment.

human rats lungs heart similarity

(8) Rats are tiny size animal while other animals are bigger in size. So, it is easy to keep them in lab rather than other animals.

(9) According to scientists, it is easy to handle them during experiment because they do not move.

(10) When any medicine gives to rats, their immune system reacts to that medicine and can change medicine’s symptoms so if scientists want to see any medicine symptoms, they would have to make weak their immune system. and, it is easy to make weak rat’s immune system so scientists can see medicine’s symptoms.

(11) Test of Many diseases of human beings like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart related problems, Ulcers etc. Occurs on rats because as we earlier studied that, their systems are similar to human beings. So, we can see symptoms of these diseases on rats.

Now, I hope you understand that why do scientists use rats for their experiment or research.

What type of Diseases do rats carry?

  • Lyme disease symptoms– Skin lesions, headaches, Arthralgias, red spots on skin, no itching, fever etc. It is cause of bacteria. it can lead to chronic Lyme disease, join pain.
  • Salmonella (food poisoning)– Cause intestinal disorder, vomiting, diarrhea.
    Gastroenteritis- It is cause by salmonella enteriditis or salmonella enteric (typhoid) – high fever, headache, vomiting, abdominal cramp.
  • Rat bite fever– Relapsing fever that may cause last several months, severe body pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea. It is usually caused by bacteria Leptospira. This infection is passed on humans through urine or mucous secretions of rodents. It is spread by bathing, playing or wading through bacteria infected water. Doxycycline tablets is used for treatment.
  • Hantavirus– Flu like symptoms, renal failure. this disease has flu like symptoms and there is no treatment and medicine or vaccine for this disease. It can lead to death. there are 20 to 40 cases of hanta virus reported in the U.S each year.
  • Typhus– Fever, headache, rash, respiratory attack. It is spread through mites, lice from rats or infected person. There is no vaccine for prevention. Only prevention is good hygiene and keep rats away from your house.
  • Plague– Attacks circulatory and respiratory systems, vomiting, shortness of breath, constipation, low blood pressure, heart irregularities. It is caused by Yersinia pestis bacterium. This plague is also known as black death. It is generally spread by rodents, such as rats, and fleas. And can also transmitted by infected person to healthy person. It is very dangerous sometimes and may lead to death.
  • Pox– Lesion followed, fever, headache, rash, sore throat. It is caused by varicella zoster virus. It is spread through infected person to healthy person by cough or sneezing, but It can be treated by vaccine.
  • LCMV (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus)- It is particularly dangerous to pregnant human and can cause of birth.

rats carry diseases

As we earlier studied about rats so, now we can say that there are many advantages or disadvantages of rats. They are very beneficial for research purpose. But they are also responsible for many diseases, which are very dangerous to us. Many dangerous or harmful diseases are spread by rats.

Poonam chhapola


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