This chapter describes PET systems for imaging of small animals. It also discusses the opportunities for bringing together high-resolution PET imaging systems with the techniques of modern molecular biology, functional genomics, and drug development. Important factors considered in the design of dedicated small animal PET scanners are identified and the geometry and performance of several first-generation systems are reviewed. This chapter also describes newer small animal PET systems that are under development. Last section illustrates some of the early applications of PET for studying small laboratory animals and identifies the challenges, opportunities, and ultimate limitations in applying PET to small animal imaging. The role of PET in modern biology has yet to be defined, but, if some of the challenges identified in this chapter can be overcome, then it is likely to play a significant role in the study of animal models of disease.
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