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Etherization is the administration of ether to induce anaesthesia. It should not be confused with etherification, which is the act or process of making an ether. In etherization, the ether (general formula: R–O–R′, where R and R′ represent the alkyl or aryl groups) is used to induce reversible loss of pain perception and other sensations. It was first used as an anesthetic agent in 1842 by an American physician, Crawford Williamson Long. He used it as a general anesthetic to remove a tumor from the neck of his patient. Soon, ether as an anesthetic agent has been used in research, particularly when test animals (e.g. fruit flies) need to be anesthetized as part of the research method. Ether, though, is flammable. Thus, proper handling and safety precautions are essential when using it.

See also


  1. Editors. (2010, April 26). Ether and Chloroform. Retrieved from HISTORY website:
  2. An introduction to fruit flies. (2015, April 23). Retrieved from The Berg Lab website:

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