Reflection 1: Model Organisms

What are model organisms?

Model organisms refer to a small number of species that are used in experimental laboratory research because of their size, short generation times and relatively large numbers of progeny. Findings from tests including these model organisms can then be used to include other species for the furthering of developmental, metabolic and biological research.

Why are model organisms used?

Model organisms are used as they provide remarkable insight which otherwise would not have been gained in a laboratory. Because all living organisms come from the same ancestors, scientists have found that many developmental features and other biological characteristics are the same across different species. Model organisms are ideal because carrying out studies on humans is highly unethical, expensive and unsafe. This is due to the fact that research must be carried out inside of the body. Model organisms also provide a greater understanding for disease and helps in finding cures.

What are the criteria for a good model organism?

1.       Easy to care for in the laboratory

2.       Small size

3.       Requires little space

4.       Easy feeding methods

5.       Not harmful to work with

There are several model organisms that are frequently selected for research due to the fact that extensive studies have already been carried out on them therefore scientists have a great deal of knowledge about them already.

How to choose a model organism?


Examples of model organisms



4241_Devo_Caenorhabditis elegans

Caenorhabditis elegans


Drosophila melanogaster


Mus musculus


Scitable Nature by Education- Website

Fast Bleep- Website

Images- Websites


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