Rhesus monkeys, one of the most common species used in biomedical research, share about 93 percent of their genes with humans. They are also widely used because they breed well in captivity. Rhesus monkeys offer many advantages because of their close similarity to humans.
Nonhuman primates, including rhesus monkeys, are essential to understand biological functions, study complex human diseases, and address safety of new diagnostics and therapies proposed for human use. They share many important features with humans because of their close genetic relationship; similarities in reproduction, development, physiology, immunology, anatomy, genetics, cognition, and social complexity aid in overcoming the roadblocks to new human treatments. Monkeys and humans share many reproductive features including a similar menstrual cycle. Thus, there is an ongoing need for nonhuman primates that parallel the human condition, and within a supportive infrastructure with the necessary expertise to facilitate access and use.