WASHINGTON (AP) -- A prestigious scientific group says chimpanzees should hardly ever be used for medical research anymore.
The Institute of Medicine stopped short of recommending a total ban on research with these animals that are humans' closest living relatives. But it is urging the government to set strict limits on when chimps can be poked and prodded for medicine, essentially making them a last resort -- and federal health officials signaled they planned to make some changes.
Those similarities to people that raise ethical and emotional questions about using chimps for science are also what has made them valuable for research. They were vital in creating a vaccine for hepatitis B, for example, and even were shot into space to make sure the trip wouldn't kill the astronauts next in line.