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Experimentation of the living

Models in research

The basic steps of the scientific method require models to verify and validate hypotheses. Many different models are available for researchers:

  • Mathematical models  (in silico biology),
  • Biological models:  cells and organoids (in vitro), organ culture (ex vivo), model organisms: animal, plant, bacteria and other prokaryotic organisms (in vivo).

In addition, genome engineering provides researchers with more cellular models and organisms, which could be more convenient for their research. Choosing the most pertinent models for a scientific question requires a rigorous method. This choice has to be based on a good knowledge of available models and within legal and ethical guidelines, essential to the functioning of our society. Concerning animal models, the census conducted in 2019 shows that the model most commonly used in France is the mouse (16%), far ahead of fish models (12%), rat (9%) and rabbit (7%).



Models at IGFL

Aim of research at IGFL is to understand animal development, function and evolution, and adaptation of animals to their environment. Research teams mainly use animal models (in vivo) but also in vitro or ex vivo models depending on experimental requirement. Some of these models are classical (drosophila, zebrafish, and mouse). Some are more specific and adapted to some research (gerromorpia, tribolium, perhyale). Furthermore, genetic engineering of each model allows producing models more adapted to the scientific issue.


Learn more about animal models.


Rules and regulations

At IGFL scientific projects and their implementation conditions comply with the regulatory requirements, in particular, those relative to animal experimentation described in European directive 2010/63/UE and  French regulation.

  • The facilities have been approved by the local French administration, and are regularly inspected by veterinary services from the DDPP (Direction Départementale de la Protection des Population).
  • The principal investigator and every animal caretaker, every animal technician or any person who take part in procedures on live animals are required to attend an initial accredited training course, and then to undergo a mandatory yearly day of education in the field of animal welfare.
  • Genetic engeneering methods are used in accordance with rules defined by the Haut conseil des Biotechnologies and after authorization from MSRI (Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur de la Recherche et de l’Innovation).


Ethical and Animal welfare

Ethical and animal welfare (3R Rule) are the main concern for all members of IGFL. For each step for each project we try to :

  • Replace animals by other models if possible
  • Reduce number of animals used to what is strictly needed
  • Refine procedures to ameliorate animal welfare



- IGFL endorsed the transparency charter on the use of animals in research in France, signed by our supervisory institutions (CNRS, INRAE).

- IGFL is present in regional or national networks for ethical consideration in animal experimentation.

- IGFL has designed a referring veterinarian specialized for laboratory animal care, and an internal committee for animal welfare (SBEA) which both are carefully following all animals used for experimental research projects.

- All research projects using animals receive ministerial approval based on an assessment carried out by our ethics committee the CECCAPP (CE 15).


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