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Table 3 Comparison of human parturition and preterm birth with animal models

From: The genomics of preterm birth: from animal models to human studies

Species Source of progesterone in late gestation Fall in serum progesterone at term Gestation length (days) Number of fetuses Sequenced genome Comments
Human Placenta No 266 1 Yes Excellent model for genomic studies, complicated by complex environmental factors
Guinea pig Placenta No 67 1 to 6 (average 3) Yes A lengthy gestation period (in comparison with other rodents) and lack of optimized reagents limits the use of this organism as a model of preterm birth
Mice Corpus luteum of the ovary Yes 19.5 6 to 8 Yes A short gestation length, optimized reagents, and easily manipulated genetics make this model ideal to work with. However, the necessity of progesterone withdrawal before the onset of labor limits its applicability to human parturition
Rhesus macaque Placenta No 164 1 Yes Lack of optimized reagents, the expense and time to maintain and study this organism, and the unfeasibility of genetic manipulation make the use of this model impractical
Sheep Placenta Yes 147 1 to 2 Yes Labor is preceded by progesterone withdrawal, which differs from human parturition. This model is expensive to maintain, limiting the number of animals that can be used per experiment