A Pragmatic Approach for Selecting Evo-Devo Model Species in Amniotes

  • publication
  • 01-01-2008

Tzika A.C. & Milinkovitch M.C.. Chapter 7 in “Evolving Pathways: Key Themes in Evolutionary Developmental Biology.

One major classical justification of using a model metazoan species for experimentation has been that discoveries of biological phenomena in that species could be extrapolated to other multicellular species. Because the chances that this extrapolation is valid in humans depend on the phylogenetic distance between humans and the model species, many researchers have somewhat sacrificed the major benefits of small size, short generation time and ease of manipulation that characterise some invertebrates in order to use species that humans can more readily relate to, such as the laboratory mouse (Mus musculus). However, the community of biologists has continued to use additional model species because each of the selected taxa have specific features that make experimental manipulation easier (e.g. easy-to-score morphological variation and giant polytene chromosomes in Drosophila melanogaster, or accurate description of the largely invariant complete cell lineage and full neural connectivity in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans).

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