For many laboratories, monkey business is no laughing matter. The rise in bioterrorism research after the Sept. 11 tragedy puts an increased demand on the already limited supply of rhesus monkeys for research ("Monkey deficit crimps laboratories as scientists scramble for alternatives," The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2002). The genetic similarity between humans and rhesus monkeys has helped establish the species as the preferred nonhuman primate model for medical research, making the monkeys essential for researching diseases such as AIDS. Once available from India for $80 (US), a healthy female rhesus monkey can now fetch as much as $14,000. "It's classic economics," says Andrew Lackner, director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, La. "Bioterrorism research has placed increased demands on the system, outstripping the supply." Tulane has a breeding program, as do all eight of the National Institutes of Health primate research centers, but a...
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