Animal biotechnology

Animals are used in many ways in biotechnology.  The animals in research labs help us better understand biology and serve as biological test systems.  Other animals and animal products are used to support research by providing products that help technicians to grow cells, viruses, and microbes in culture. Biotechnologists also use animals to produce antibodies.  Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that are used in many ways in biotechnology.   

In research, genetically engineered fruit flies, mice, and rats are also used to help us understand the relationship between genes and disease. Zebra fish are especially important in medical research by providing insights into human and animal health and development.  Rabbits and mice are frequently used for producing the antibodies that we use to detect various molecules.  

Many animals also help by serving as models of disease.  If an animal gets a disease that's similar to humans, we can use that animal to test treatments.  Animals are often used to help us understand how new drugs will work and whether or not they'll be safe for humans and effective in treating disease.  

In agriculture, biotechnology methods such as genetic testing are used to identify the best animals for producing milk or meat and finding animals that are most resistant to disease.  Biotechnology is also used to increase production of animal products such as milk or meat. and we can work with animals to improve production of meat and milk, and produce products such as medicines in more cost effective ways.

Pet owners also benefit from animal biotechnology.  DNA testing services help dog breeders select dogs that are less likely to pass on harmful traits.  Pet owners who adopt dogs from shelters can also use DNA testing to learn about their dog's ancestry.

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Animal technicians take care of the laboratory animals that are used in biotechnology research, veterinary research, and product testing. Laboratory animals play an important role in helping scientists understand how drugs behave in a biological system.

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