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Research Guides

Animal Welfare & Laboratory Animal Alternatives (IACUC Searches): Replacement/Animal Use Alternatives Concepts

Conducting literature searches required by the Animal Welfare Act and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Identifying ways to reduce pain or distress in laboratory animals. Support for UW IACUC protocols

Steps for Focusing on Replacement Concepts

1. Search for articles describing what you are studying in your protocol.

2. Search for articles describing the types of alternatives that might exist, e.g., cell culture models or computer simulations.

3. Combine the two searches with AND.

Search Example

The example is finding alternatives to live animal models for studying retinal regeneration.

1. Search for terms from your protocol.  This example is retinal regeneration.

(retina OR retinal) AND (regenerat* OR regrow*) AND (model OR models OR modeling)

2. Search for terms that describe a potential alternative to a live animal model.

Explant* OR “organ culture” OR “tissue culture” OR "ex vivo"

3. Combine these two searches with AND.

((retina OR retinal) AND (regenerat* OR regrow*) AND (model OR models OR modeling)) AND (Explant* OR “organ culture” OR “tissue culture” OR "ex vivo")


In PubMed, conduct searches #1 and #2.  Click on "Advanced" under the search box.

Then combine the two searches using AND.

Add search #1 to the search builder.  Add search #2 to the search builder.  Keep the default "AND."  Search.

Potential Search Terms for Replacement Concepts

animal use, animal testing, animal use alternatives, animal replacement, non-animal model

in vitro, culture, cultured, explant, ex vivo

simulate, simulation, virtual, artificial, digital

computer, computational, mathematic, software, in silico

mannequin, cadaver

organ-on-a-chip, artificial organs

non-mammalian, zebrafish, Danio

Automated PubMed Searches on Selected Topics

Use ALTBIB for current, automated PubMed searches on selected animal use alternatives topics, such as cytotoxicity, carcinogenesis, monoclonal antibody production, pharmacokinetics, and skin toxicity.