Studies that are in vivo (Latin for “within the living”; often not italicized in English) are those in which the effects of various biological entities are tested on whole, living organisms or cells, usually animals, including humans, and plants as opposed to a tissue extract or dead organism.
In vitro (meaning: in the glass) studies are performed with microorganisms, cells, or biological molecules outside their normal biological context. Colloquially called “test-tube experiments”, these studies in biology and its subdisciplines are traditionally done in labware such as test tubes, flasks, Petri dishes, and microtiter plates. Studies conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological surroundings permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms; however, results obtained from in vitro experiments may not fully or accurately predict the effects on a whole organism. In contrast to in vitro experiments, in vivo studies are those conducted in animals, including humans, and whole plants.