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The development of multimodality preclinical imaging techniques and the rapid growth of realistic computer simulation tools have promoted the construction and application of computational laboratory animalmodels in preclinical research. Since the early 1990s, over 120 realistic computational animalmodels have been reported in the literature and used as surrogates to characterize the anatomy of actual animals for the simulation of preclinical studies involving the use of bioluminescence tomography, fluorescence molecular tomography,positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, microcomputed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and optical imaging. Other applications include electromagnetic field simulation, ionizing and nonionizing radiation dosimetry, and the development and evaluation of new methodologies for multimodality image coregistration, segmentation, and reconstruction of small animal images. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the history and fundamental technologies used for the development of computational small animalmodels with a particular focus on their application in preclinical imaging as well as nonionizing and ionizing radiation dosimetry calculations. An overview of the overall process involved in the design of these models, including the fundamental elements used for the construction of different types of computational models, the identification of original anatomical data, the simulation tools used for solving various computational problems, and the applications of computational animalmodels in preclinical research. The authors also analyze the characteristics of categories of computational models (stylized, voxel-based, and boundary representation) and discuss the technical challenges faced at the present time as well as research needs in the future.


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