Research in vitro

Tools for use in laboratory

In vitro research (from the Latin "in glass") is conducted in the laboratory, using isolated material from the living organism (e.g. cells, cellular components, molecules such as proteins, or the hereditary material – including DNA and RNA).  The removal of such material from the living organism enables simplification of the complex biological systems studied, allowing the elucidation of the biological roles of major components of the phenomenon, unhindered by other ongoing processes occurring concurrently in the living organism.  In vitro experiments are generally of short duration and less expensive to conduct, compared with experiments on whole organisms, and may be conducted without regard to the ethical or safety considerations required for living organisms.

Tools for use in laboratory  


On the other hand, the simpler working environment may give an erroneous picture, since the activity of the components observed in vitro does not necessarily reflect their activity in the complete organism in the presence of additional processes that may be absent in the experimental situation. In addition, the conditions in the laboratory and the concentrations of the components are generally different from those found in the living organism, and may thus lead to observation of activities that may be different from those observed in the whole organism.


In the field of non-ionizing radiation, in vitro experiments are aimed at answering questions about the effect of radiation on various cellular components; primarily, do  biological cells 'sense' non-ionizing radiation in their vicinity? Cells may detect environmental stimuli produced by radiation, and initiate a sequence of responses within the cells that may represent the biological mechanism through which they respond to the stimuli.  Despite widespread research over the past few years, questions regarding the 'cellular component' that senses the radiation, and the biological results of the cellular response have not yet been answered unequivocally.  These questions are most important to the scientific understanding of the possible effects of non-ionizing radiation on living organisms, including the understanding of whether the possible effect and/or damage resulting from such exposure are reversible.