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Animal model refers to a non-human animal with a disease or injury that is similar to a human condition. These test conditions are often termed as animal models of disease. The use of animal models allows researchers to investigate disease states in ways which would be inaccessible in a human patient, performing procedures on the non-human animal that imply a level of harm that would not be considered ethical to inflict on a human.
In order to serve as a useful model, a modeled disease must be similar in etiology (mechanism of cause) and function to the human equivalent. Animal models are used to learn more about a disease, its diagnosis and its treatment. For instance, behavioral analogues of anxiety or pain in laboratory animals can be used to screen and test new drugs for the treatment of these conditions in humans.
Animal models of disease can be spontaneous (naturally occurring in animals), or be induced by physical, chemical or biological means. For example,
- The use of metrazol (pentylenetetrazol) as an animal model of epilepsy
- Immunisation with an auto-antigen to induce an immune response to model autoimmune diseases such as EAE
- Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery as an animal model of ischemic stroke
- Infecting animals with pathogens to reproduce human infectious diseases
- Using ionizing radiation to cause tumors
- Genetically selected (such as in diabetic mice).
- Various Animal Models for Screening of Drugs for Glaucoma
The increase in knowledge of the genomes of non-human primates and other mammals that are genetically close to humans is allowing the production of genetically engineered animal tissues, organs and even animal species which express human diseases, providing a more robust model of human diseases in an animal model.
In quantitative genetics, the term animal model is used to refer to statistical models in which phenotypic variance is compartmentalised into environmental, genetic and sometimes maternal effects. Such animal models are also known as "mixed models".
Some scientific papers that use Plasmodium yoelii as a model of human malaria:
Hisaeda, H., Maekawa, Y., Iwakawa, D., Okada, H., Himeno, K., Kishihara, K., Tsukumo, S. & Yasutomo, K. (2004). Escape of malaria parasites from host immunity requires CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells. Nature Medicine 10, 29-30. 
Coppi A, Cabinian M, Mirelman D, Sinnis P. Antimalarial activity of allicin, a biologically active compound from garlic cloves.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2006 May;50(5):1731-7.
Frischknecht F, Martin B, Thiery I, Bourgouin C, Menard R. Using green fluorescent malaria parasites to screen for permissive vector mosquitoes. Malar J. 2006 Mar 28;5:23. 
- Animal testing
- Ensembl genome database
- In vivo
- Model organism
- Animal testing on invertebrates
- Animal testing on rodents
- History of animal testing