In news that will thrill animal rights activists and tech geeks alike, animal testing of chemicals will be partially replaced by robot testing.
Researchers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Health will be working together to help create robots that can test the safety and toxicity of chemicals.
These robots could replace millions of rats and mice currently used in toxicity studies. According to the Hindu Times:
“More than 3.1 million experiments in the U.K. were carried out on animals in 2006. Of these more than 420,000 were done to test the safety of chemicals.
According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), more than 100 million animals are used annually in experiments in the U.S., of which 15 million are used in toxicity tests.
The robots would work by testing a cell culture of a chemical using a special computer model. They’ll resemble medical research machines which test thousands of molecules for medical usefulness in just a few days.
If it works, it could mean much faster testing of chemical safety. This is good news for companies as well as health agencies. Products from pesticides to cleaners must be safety tested before being released, so the robots would get products on the shelves or back to the lab faster.
As you’d expect, PETA is really happy. Science policy adviser Catherine Willett said: “This is a significant change in the perspective of U.S. agencies, which have historically relied heavily on animal testing out of habit and have been resistant to change.”
Source: Hindu Times