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Use In Research

The chimpanzee is the closest living relative of humans. In fact, the DNA of humans and chimpanzees differs by less than 1%. Because of this genetic closeness, and anatomical and biochemical similarities, chimps have been widely used for testing new vaccines and drugs in biomedical research.

Chimpanzees can also become infected by certain diseases that humans are susceptible to, such as colds, flu, AIDS, and hepatitis B. Gorillas, gibbons, and orangutans are the only other animals that show a similar susceptibility to these diseases. Consequently, these species are used in biomedical research seeking cures for these ailments, including work that would be considered ethically wrong if undertaken on human subjects. However, many people are beginning to object to using chimpanzees and other apes in certain kinds of invasive biomedical research. This is because of the recent understanding that chimpanzees, other apes, and humans are so closely related, and that all are capable of experiencing complex emotions, including pain and suffering. Some people are even demanding that apes should be given legal rights and protection from irresponsible use in research.



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Kitty Richman

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Chimaeras to ClusterChimpanzees - Chimpanzee Species And Habitat, Physical Characteristics, Behavior, Parenting, Eating Habits, Communication, Jane Goodall's Observations