Reduce, refine, replace – responsibility

The scientists at the Max Planck Society are committed to keeping the number of animal experiments as well as the strain on the animals as low as possible in the individual experiments. They apply the so-called 3R principle when planning and carrying out the experiments. '3R' stands for "Reduce, Refine, Replace": the number of animals per experiment is reduced to the absolute minimum ('Reduction'); the performance of the experiments and the keeping of the animals optimized in such a way that the burden on the animals is as small as possible ('Refinement'); and animal experiments are replaced by alternative methods, whenever this is possible ('Replacement').

In addition, the researchers of the Max Planck Society commit themselves to a fourth 'R' for "responsibility". They want to use their knowledge in life sciences and humanities to promote animal welfare in their institutes.

To fulfill the fourth R, the MPG commits itself

  • to improve the social life of the experimental animals 
  • develop further the scientific basis for the objective determination of sentience, experience of pain, consciousness and intelligence in the animal kingdom
  • proactively engage in professionalizing the public discourse on questions of animal ethics
Drawing of a mouse, sitting on a piece of cheese amidst other fruits and pastries, chewing on a piece of chocolate.

A hormone and specialized brain cells regulate feeding behavior in mice more

The epigenetically dispersed placenta

Two molecular opponents keep placental DNA in epigenetic suspension more

Scarless wound healing

An ERK-dependent molecular switch antagonizes fibrosis and promotes regeneration more

Mast cells in dermis

Slow walkers

April 21, 2023

Mast cells deploy adhesion receptors to move inside tissues more

The picture is divided into two halves and shows a colourful staining of cells under the microscope. On the right, the pink staining is much stronger.

The brain releases the hormone corticosterone after short fasting that boosts autophagy more

The image show nerve cells in green under the microscope.

Priorities change depending on hunger level more

Seabirds in the eye of the storm

Tolerance to strong winds and storm avoidance strategy differs among seabird species more

The picture shows a collection of cells under the microscope.

Study on mice shows male-specific effects on health more

Two fruit flies sitting on a pill.

Studies in fruit flies reveal how the sex determines the responses to the anti-ageing drug rapamycin more

Ronald Naumann in his lab.

The head of the transgenic core facility of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics receives the award for a method to reduce the number of experimental animals more

Show more
Go to Editor View