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Funding both sexes animal research

One of the UK’s major funding bodies is to make the use of both sexes a condition of any research animal studies it supports.

Starting in late 2022, the Medical Research Council (MRC) will only grant funding to single sex studies if ‘a robust justification’ can be given – the policy also applies to human or animal-derived cells or tissues.

MRC is a public body that funds research to prevent illness, develop therapies and improve human health.

In a recent survey conducted by MRC, only 54% of applications planned to use both male and female animals.

Answering concerns about the possible increase in the number of animals used the announcement said that using statistical analyses ‘one can examine sex differences without a considerable increase in animal numbers’.

Claire Newland, MRC Director of Policy, Ethics and Governance said: “I am proud MRC is leading the way on this in the UK, and I hope it inspires other UK funders to follow suit.”

A recent article in CNN Health highlighted the problem of sex bias.

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