Posted by Shae on July 02, 2003
In Reply to: Guinea Pig posted by Rats Berg on July 02, 2003
: : : To be a guinea pig or an experiment. Where does this phrase originate from? I have an international collegue that I was trying to describe the meaning but didn't know why we used the phrase.
: : Guinea pigs are small mammals that are sometimes used in experiments.
: (Initial missing from previous post. Must have hit Return while trying to change R to Rats, on a sudden silly impulse. Rats!)
We use rats too!!
Toxicologists use many different animal and plant species to assess the biological and environmental effects of substances. Scientific protocol requires that the results of such tests can be verified by others using the same techniques, materials and test organisms that were used in the original assessment. Guinea pigs are suitable test organisms because they are easily bred in laboratories and test results from different laboratories are, therefore, readily comparable. I don't know for sure, but I suspect guinea pigs were first selected as mammalian test organisms because of their fecundity and their small size. They breed fast and don't cost a lot to feed.
Enough already!! (Good ol' Oirish expression that is, so it is, so it is!)