Treeshrews, the primitive primate mammals for medical experimental animals  

Paul A Young
Animal Group, Saunders Institute at BC, Canada
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Molecular Zoology, 2011, Vol. 1, No. 2   doi: 10.5376/ijmz.2011.01.0002
Received: 02 Aug., 2011    Accepted: 15 Aug., 2011    Published: 30 Aug., 2011
© 2011 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Young, 2011, Treeshrews, the Primitive Primate Mammals for Medical Experimental Animals, Int'l J. Mol. Zoo., Vol.1, No.2, 4-6 (doi: 10.5376/ijmz. 2011.01.0002)


Treeshrews are small, squirrel-like mammals native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, which are placed in Scandentia order including two families, Tupaiidae and Ptilocercidae. There are five genera including 20 species. Genus Tupaia having 15 species is the largest genus in the order. Northern treeshrew (Tupaia belangeri) and common treeshrew (Tupaia glis) are two of the most famous treeshrews in the Tupaia genus. To date, there has been a great controversy as to whether treeshrews should be placed in the order of insectivore or primates. Treeshrews are generally considered to have a close genetic relationship to primates, and also have some unique characteristics suitable for laboratory animal, such as relatively small body mass, high brain-to-body mass ratio, short reproductive cycle and life span; treeshrews have been proposed to be used as an alternative experimental animal for nonhuman primates. In the past decades, treeshrews as an alternative animal model has been widely applied in biomedical research and safety testing for medicine.

Treeshrew; Scandentia; Primates; Primate experimental animal
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