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DENVER/Aug. 4, 2023 – A recent scientific paper published in the journal Microorganisms highlights the development of the first broad range of reptile cell lines, a significant feat that researchers say will help advance reptile conservation.

In the study, which was funded by Morris Animal Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, researchers established cell lines from a variety of reptiles, including crocodilians, snakes, turtles, tortoises and lizards. Cell lines are populations of cells from multicellular organisms that have been grown in a laboratory and can be used for a variety of research purposes, such as vaccine production and drug testing. In addition, cell lines can replace the need for live animals in scientific research, a significant advancement for animal welfare.

“This is going to provide a set of tools that previously was entirely unavailable,” said Dr. Robert J. Ossiboff, the lead investigator in the study and a clinical associate professor at UF. “It's hopefully going to push reptile disease research into the next generation.”

 Ossiboff said funding for studies like this one is vital as work related to reptile and amphibian diseases continually lags research for almost all other animal species.

“When you have species that are not your charismatic megafauna – not everyone loves them all the time – it's really hard to find that type of funding,” he said. “That's why Morris Animal Foundation is so essential.”

About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding nearly $160 million in more than 3,000 critical animal health studies to date across a broad range of species. Learn more at

Media Contact: Annie Mehl