Publications: Fact Sheets and More


April 7, 2012 • Posted in Fact Sheets and More

Acceleration Chamber: Device used by the U.S. Air Force to test the effects of high-speed movement on chimpanzees.

AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the immune system that results from the advanced stages of HIV infection and is defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.

AIDSVAX: An experimental HIV vaccine that was developed and trialed by the VaxGen company. The trials in humans proved unsuccessful, as the vaccine was ineffective at preventing HIV infections.

Alzheimer’s Disease:  Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that is marked histologically by the degeneration of brain neurons especially in the cerebral cortex and by the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and plaques containing beta-amyloid. Its cause is unknown.

Amphetamines: Drugs that increases extraneuronal dopamine in the midbrain. Believed to displace dopamine in synaptic vesicles, leading to increased synaptic levels.

Animal Welfare Act (AWA): Signed into law in 1966, the Animal Welfare Act regulates the use of certain animals in research in the U.S. It covers animals who are used by breeders, dealers, exhibitors, and researchers. In 1972, the United States Department of Agriculture’s definition of “animal” excluded birds, mice, rats, horses, and farmed animals, leaving these species without protection.

Anthropoid: The primate suborder (Anthropoidea) that includes monkeys, apes, and humans.

Ape: Member of a superfamily of primate, including human.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): The division of the United States Department of Agriculture that administers and enforces the Animal Welfare Act, including laboratory inspections.

Asymptomatic: Refers to a disease that does not produce symptoms.

Behavioral research: The study of actions or reactions in relation to an organism’s environment.

Biomedical research: Relating to the activities and applications of scientific research to clinical medicine.

Biopsy: The removal and examination of tissue, cells, or fluids from the living body.

Bioreactor:  An apparatus for growing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or yeast that are used in the production of pharmaceuticals, antibodies, or vaccines, or for the bioconversion of organic wastes.

Biosafety level 2: Usually refers to a laboratory setting where the facility, containment devices, administrative controls, and procedures provide safe working conditions for personnel involved with agents of moderate risk to humans and the environment.

Biosafety level 3: Usually refers to a laboratory environment where the facility is suitable for work with infectious agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal diseases as a result of exposure by inhalation.

Bipedal: Describes an animal who walks on two feet. Humans are bipedal; other primates are primarily quadrupedal.

Bonobo: Sometimes called the pygmy chimpanzee, bonobos (Pan paniscus) generally have a more slender build than the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Social groups are matriarchal, larger, and less aggressive than those of common chimpanzees.

Bushmeat: Refers to the hunting of any free-living animal not traditionally regarded as “food.” Targets include nonhuman primates, many of whom are already endangered.

Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, which can expand locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.

Carcinogen: A substance or agent that promotes cancer.

Carcinoma: A malignant tumor of epithelial (membranous cellular tissue) origin.

Causative: Functioning as an agent or cause.

CHIMP Act: Passed in 2000, the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act, established a system of retirement for government-owned “surplus” chimpanzees.

Chimp Haven: A facility in Louisiana for government-owned “surplus” chimpanzees not currently used in research. Chimpanzees sent to Chimp Haven can be used again in research if certain established criteria are met.

Clinical Trial: A scientifically controlled study of the safety and effectiveness of a therapeutic agent (as a drug or vaccine) using consenting human subjects.

Cognition: Refers to psychological processes such as memory, attention, perception, action, problem solving, and mental imagery.

Cognitive: Of, relating to, or involving cognition.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Complex PTSD): a diagnosis developed by Herman and others (e.g., Briere & Spinnazola, 2005; Krystal, 2004; van der Kolk, 2004) to bring attention to the severe affects that repeated, prolonged stress and trauma have on psychological well-being.

Conspecifics: Of the same species.

Cross-fostering: Refers to the adoption of an infant by an adult of another species.

Decompression chamber: A vessel in which atmospheric pressure can be gradually raised or lowered.

Display: In chimpanzees, a combination of several threat behaviors such as pilo erect hair, bipedal or quadrapedal swaggering, charing, foot stomping, branch flailing, loud vocalizations, etc.

DNA: Deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid capable of carrying genetic instructions for the biological development of all cellular forms of life and many viruses.

Dysentery: Severe diarrhea illness often associated with blood in the feces.

Efficacy: The ability to produce an effect.

Empirical: An observation or experiment based upon experience that is capable of being verified or disproved.

Encephalization: Refers to the tendency for a species toward larger brains through evolutionary time.

Endangered species: A species whose numbers are so severely reduced that it is in imminent danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range.

Endangered Species Act (ESA): A federal law that authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect from extinction all endangered and threatened species in the United States and abroad.

Environmental enrichment: A means of enhancing the environment of captive animals to provide more stimuli through alterations in the physical environment. The goal is to reduce boredom and promote the expression of natural and instinctive behaviors. Environmental enrichment for nonhuman primates was mandated by the Animal Welfare Act in 1986 but remains poorly implemented overall.

Etiology: The study of causation or the study of why things occur.

Exsanguination: The fatal process of total blood loss.

Extinction: The elimination of a species; occurs when the last individual member of a species dies.

Extrapolate: To infer or estimate by projecting known information.

Field research: A study conducted in person, in the wild, or in a natural setting outside of a laboratory.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): The federal Freedom of Information Act requires government agencies to make certain information available to the public upon request.

The Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA): A federal bill that will end invasive research on laboratory chimpanzees, discharge all federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary, and stop all federal funded breeding. It was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 and reintroduced in the House and Senate in 2009 and 2011.

Gene Therapy: The insertion of usually genetically altered genes into cells especially to replace defective genes in the treatment of genetic disorders or to provide a specialized disease-fighting function (as the destruction of tumor cells).

Gibbons: Arboreal brachiating (arm-swinging) apes indigenous to Southeast Asia, gibbons are famous for their song-like vocalizations. Free-living gibbons live in nuclear families and are part of the category of lesser great apes.

Great ape: A grouping that includes the gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee, bonobo, gibbon, and Homo sapiens.

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the human immune system, destroying or impairing their function. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Hepatitis: A disease characterized by inflammation of the liver that can be acute and self-limiting or chronic and degenerative. Hepatitis has a variety of difference causes, including a range of viruses (i.e. A, B, C, E). Research into hepatitis C currently comprises the largest area of chimpanzee use in U.S. biomedical research.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): An IACUC is a committee mandated by the Animal Welfare Act for each research institution using animals for biomedical research. The purpose of the committee is to provide oversight for the use of animals in experiments at that institution.

In vivo: In a living organism.

In vitro: In an artificial environment outside a living organism.

Innocuous: Having no adverse effect.

Interspecies: Existing or occurring between species.

Intraspecies: Arising or occurring within a species.

Isolette: An incubator-like steel cage with solid sides designed for one animal.

Isomorphism: Similarity in form.

Knockdown: Laboratory slang for the use of dart guns to anesthetize.

Lamivudine: A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that is very effective in combination with zidovudine in treating AIDS/HIV.

Lexigram: A symbol that represents a word.

Leukemia: A group of bone marrow diseases involving an uncontrolled increase in white blood cells (leukocytes). It is also defined as being any of several cancers of the bone marrow that prevent the normal manufacture of red and white blood cells and platelets, resulting in anemia, increased susceptibility to infection, and impaired blood clotting. The cause of it is unknown.

Liver punch biopsy: Procedure in which a small piece of liver tissue is extracted by syringe through the skin.

Liver wedge biopsy: Procedure in which a wedge of liver is surgically removed.

Malaria: A parasitic disease that involves high fevers, shaking chills, flu-like symptoms, and anemia. It is caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted congenitally (from a mother to her unborn baby) and by blood transfusions.

Maternal deprivation: Refers to experimental separation of an infant from its mother.

Melanoma: Any of several types of skin tumors characterized by the malignant growth (See Cancer) of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce a skin pigment called melanin.

Metastasis: The spread of a disease-producing agency (as cancer cells or bacteria) from the initial or primary site of disease to another part of the body.
Monoclonal Antibody: Any of a class of antibodies produced in the laboratory by a single clone of cells or a cell line and consisting of identical antibody molecules: widely used in medical and biological research.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): The federal entity that consists of 27 institutes and centers, and is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Primate Research Centers (NPRC): National Primate Research Centers are eight specialized facilities that conduct research on nonhuman primates. Funded by grants through NIH’s National Center for Research Resources Division of Comparative Medicine, each center is affiliated with an academic institution. They are:

  • California National Primate Research Center
  • New England National Primate Research Center
  • Oregon National Primate Research Center
  • Southwest National Primate Research Center
  • Tulane National Primate Research Center
  • Washington National Primate Research Center
  • Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
  • Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW): An entity of the NIH that enforces the Health Research Extension Act.

Oncogenic: Physiological processes, viruses, and other biological events that promote the formation or development of cancerous tumors.

Ontological: A branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

Pan troglodytes: Chimpanzee.

Paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices constituting a view of reality.

Pathophysiology: The study of the disturbance of otherwise normal mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions that a disease causes, or that cause the disease.

Pharmacodynamic: Refers to how a drug effects the body.

Pharmacokinetic: Refers to how the body effects a drug.

Phrenology: A pseudoscientific theory which claims determinination of character and personality traits based on the shape of the head.

Phylogenic: Based on evolutionary development.

Polymorphism: Describes multiple possible states for a single property.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association — a diagnosis used for a person who has been exposed to a traumatic event in which they experienced, witnessed or were confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others and the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror; and, the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in recurring or intrusive recollections or dreams, or the person acts or feels as if the traumatic event were reoccurring and has intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the original trauma. The person may persistently avoid any stimuli associated with the trauma and has a host of symptoms including numbing and avoidance or increased arousal including hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, exaggerated startle response and dissociation.

Prehensile: Describes the ability to physically grasp something. All primates have prehensile hands. All nonhuman primates have prehensile feet. Some new world monkeys have prehensile tails.

Prima facia: At first glance, prior to close analysis.

Primate: The order of mammals comprising humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians.

Primatology: The study of primates (other than humans).

Proliferative: To grow or multiply by quickly generating new tissue, parts, cells or offspring.

Prophylactic: Protective, defending against disease.

Protocol: A precise and detailed plan for the study of a biomedical problem or for a regimen of an experimental therapy.

Pyrogenicity: Producing or produced by fever or heat.

Quadrupedal: Describes an animal who locomotes with four feet. Nonhuman primates are primarily quadrupedal.

Reductionism: A theory holding that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to simpler or more fundamental things.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a viral pathogen that infects the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Common manifestations of the disease include bronchiolitis, pneumonia and croup. RSV can also infect chimpanzees.

Restitution: Compensation and rehabilitation for victims of violations of fundamental freedoms.

Rhesus macaques: Macaca mulatta is an Old World monkey indigenous to a range that extends from Afghanistan through regions of China. In the wild they live in patriarchal social groups of 11-70 individuals.

Sanctuary: A safe haven where residents will be protected for the rest of their lives and will not be bred, sold, displayed, used, or mistreated in any way.

Self limiting: A term used to refer to a disease that resolves spontaneously with or without specific treatment.

Sentient: Capacity for basic consciousness.

Siamang: The largest species of gibbon.

SIV: A retrovirus, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) that is believed to cause a disease in monkeys similar to AIDS and be closely related to HIV-2 of humans.

Stereotypical behavior: Refers to repetitive movement of the body that is observed by animals and humans in captive settings and is considered to be a response to stressful circumstances.

Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease that, left untreated, can cause damage to the nervous system, heart, or brain and ultimately death.

Teratogenicity: Relating to or causing deformities of an embryo or fetus.

TGN1412: An immunomodulatory drug that was intended for the treatment of B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) and rheumatoid arthritis. It was developed by TeGenero Immuno Therapeutics and was withdrawn from development after causing systemic organ failure in humans during clinical trials.

Threatened species: A species in which the population is small enough for it to be at risk of becoming extinct throughout all or part of its range, but not so small that it is in imminent danger of extinction.

Toxicity: Measure to the degree to which something is toxic or poisonous.

Topology: The study of anatomy based on regions or divisions of the body, emphasizing the relations between various structures in that region.

Trajectories: Imagined trace of positions followed by an object moving through space.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) is characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain with severe and fatal neurological signs and symptoms.

Trephination: A form of surgery where a hole is drilled or scraped into the skull.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): The federal agency founded in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln as a service for the nation’s farmers. Today, the USDA oversees national forests and rangelands; is responsible for safety of meat and egg products; and conducts agricultural research. In addition, the USDA regulates businesses involved in research, exhibition, breeding or dealing of animals. The Animal Welfare Act is administered and enforced by a division of the USDA called the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Vaccine: A preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.

Vertebrates: Having a backbone or spinal column.

Vis-à-vis: Compared with.

Vivisection: The cutting of, or operation on, a living animal usually for physiological or pathological investigation; broadly : animal experimentation especially if considered to cause distress to the subject

Xenobiotics: A chemical found in an organism that is not normally produced or expected to be present. Also refers to organs transplanted from one species to another.

Xenotransplantation: The transplantation of cells, tissues or organs from one species to another.


The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved from

MedlinePlus: Medical Encyclopedia and Dictionary. A Service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from

Solomon, E., Berg, L., & Martin, D. (1999). Biology, 5th Ed. Saunders College Publishing, Orlando, Fl.

World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved from

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