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A Scientific Review of Age Determination for a Laboratory Rat: How Old is it in Comparison with Human Age?
Laboratory rats are among the most commonly used experimental animals, offering the best functionally characterized model mammalian system. The rat serves as a model organism for the analysis of a number of important biomedical traits, including toxicology. In many instances, while individuals engaged in research are calculating doses for an experiment or relating the health effect of a certain drug or chemical to a human, questions arise such as ‘how old is a rat in people years?' or ‘is a newborn rat a good model for a newborn human?'. Some reviews have tried to answer these questions in various ways. This review attempts to answer such questions using a different approach, and shows that rat-human age correlations differ markedly at different stages of life and development. This review metaphorically illustrates the correlation of their different age periods, from the weaning (where 42.4 rat days resemble a human year) to aged phase of life (where 17.1 rat days equal a human year).
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