What are model organisms?
- Model organisms are non-human species that are used in the laboratory to help scientists understand biological processes.
- They are usually organisms that are easy to maintain and breed in a laboratory setting.
- For example, they may have particularly robust embryos that are easily studied and manipulated in the lab, this is useful for scientists studying development.
- Or they may occupy a pivotal position in the evolutionary tree, this is useful for scientists studying evolution.
Why are model organisms useful in genetics research?
- Many model organisms can breed in large numbers.
- Some have a very short generation time, which is the time between being born and being able to reproduce, so several generations can be followed at once
- Mutants allow scientists to study certain characteristics or diseases. These are model organisms that have undergone a change or mutation in their DNA that may result in a change in a certain characteristic.
- Some model organisms have similar genes or similar-sized genomes to humans.
- Model organisms can be used to create highly detailed genetic maps:
Examples of model organisms used to study genetics
- Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)
- Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
- Nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans)
- Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis)
- Mouse (Mus musculus)
- Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
This page was last updated on 2021-07-21
How helpful was this page?👎 👍 Send
What's the main reason for your rating?Send
Which of these best describes your occupation?Send
how old are students / how old are you?Send
What is the first part of your school's postcode?Send
How has the site influenced you (or others)?Send
Thankyou, we value your feedback!
If you have any other comments or suggestions, please let us know at email@example.com
Can you spare 5-8 minutes to tell us what you think of this website? Open survey