Starlet sea anemone
Finnerty, John R. Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Utility as a model system
- Unique advantages as a model system
- “Basal” animal
- Deep conservation of body plan architecture
- Deep conservation of the genome
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
There are millions of species living on planet Earth, yet experimental biologists focus on just a few dozen model systems. Ironically, these are often among the most mundane representatives of their respective evolutionary “families.” The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been studied in exquisite detail, but no comparable effort has been expended on the bombardier beetle, the mole cricket, or the luna moth, each of which is unquestionably more spectacular than Drosophila. Although model systems can seem pedestrian, they also offer a distinct advantage—when a small number of easily manageable experimental organisms are widely utilized, the scientific community can address fundamental biological questions with greater efficiency and economy.
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