Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/24/2008
Publication Date: 1/21/2009
Citation: Reynolds, L.P., Ireland, J.J., Caton, J.S., Bauman, D.E., Davis, T.A. 2009. Commentary on domestic animals in agricultural and biomedical research: An endangered enterprise. Journal of Nutrition. 139(3):427-428. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Despite the long and successful history of research on agriculturally relevant domestic animals, basic and translational research using domestic species is becoming increasingly threatened due to budgetary erosion. This funding decline is well documented in a recent article by Ireland et al., published in the "Journal of Animal Science", which summarizes 2 workshops on the "Advantages of Agriculturally Important Domestic Species as Biomedical Models" held jointly by the NIH and the USDA in 2004 and 2007. The current Web site for this effort contains several important links, including those to several recently published editorials. In addition to budgetary erosion, Ireland et al. document the decline in the number of scientists trained to use domestic animal models and also discuss contributors to this decline, such as the relatively minor competitive grants program at USDA; the overwhelming use of mouse models in biomedical research; the lack of advocacy for domestic animal models by university administrations; the cultural barrier between agricultural colleges, basic science departments, and medical schools; and less than adequate grantsmanship by animal scientists. Finally, Ireland et al. discuss various solutions to these problems based on recommendations from the joint NIH-USDA workshops.