Statistics and animals in biomedical research


  • Michael Festing

    1. Gained his PhD in quantitative genetics from Iowa State University, and before retiring he worked in the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester.
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  • He is a former member of the UK's Animal Procedures Committee, which advises the Home Secretary on matters related to animal research.


A UK government-sponsored review1 has found that out of 271 randomly chosen papers reporting experiments on laboratory animals only 59% stated the objective of the study and the number of animals used. Most did not use randomisation or blinding, and only 70% of the publications that used statistical methods gave their methods and a measure of error. Michael Festing, one of the authors of the review, wants better statistics in animal experiments.