A model organism is a species widely studied to understand biological processes or serve as a representative for other species.
Model organisms are often chosen because they are relatively simple to study and manipulate, have a short generation time, and can be easily bred in a laboratory setting.
They are also chosen because their biology is well-understood, making it easier to identify the functions of specific genes or pathways. Some common model organisms include fruit flies, mice, and zebrafish.
These organisms are used in a variety of research areas, including genetics, development, and disease.
Scientists can learn about the fundamental principles of biology by studying model organisms and then apply this knowledge to other species, including humans.
They are also chosen because they have characteristics that make them suitable for use in experiments to answer specific research questions.
For further understanding of the concept of model organisms, here’s a list of some of the common non-human species for genetic research:
1. Mouse (Mus musculus)
Mice (Mus musculus) are small mammals that are commonly used as model organisms in scientific research.
They are used in a wide range of research areas, including genetics, developmental biology, and immunology.
Mice are particularly useful as model organisms because they have similar anatomy and physiology to humans, making them a valuable tool for studying human diseases and developing treatments.
Mice are also easy to maintain and manipulate in the laboratory, and their short generation time and simple genetics make them useful for studying the genetic basis of various biological processes.
Mice are widely used in both basic research and applied research, and the results of studies involving mice are often used to inform the development of new therapies and treatments for human diseases.
2. Yeast (Baker’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae)
Yeast is a simple, unicellular fungus with a short generation time and can be easily grown and maintained in the laboratory. Yeast cells are also relatively large and easy to manipulate, making them well-suited for microscopy and other techniques.
One of the main reasons why yeast is such a useful model organism is that it shares many biological characteristics with higher organisms, including humans.
Yeast cells have a eukaryotic cell structure and perform many of the same basic cellular processes as more complex organisms, such as transcription, translation, and protein synthesis.
Yeast has been used to study a wide range of biological processes, including cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, and stress responses.
It has also been used to study the molecular basis of human diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, and to identify potential drug targets for the treatment of these diseases.
3. Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Zebrafish is a small, striped fish that is native to South Asia and has become a famous model organism in biological research. Zebrafish are attractive to researchers because they have a number of characteristics that make them well-suited for use in scientific studies.
One of the main advantages of zebrafish as a model organism is that they have a relatively short generation time and can produce large numbers of offspring.
Zebrafish also have a high degree of genetic similarity to humans, and many of the same genetic and molecular pathways are conserved between the two species.
4. Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
Fruit flies are small, winged insects that are commonly used as model organisms in genetics research.
One of the reasons fruit flies are helpful as model organisms are that they have a short generation time, meaning they reproduce quickly and can be used to study the effects of genetic changes over several generations in a relatively short period of time.
They also have a relatively simple genome, with only about 16,000 genes, making it easier to study and understand the functions of specific genes.
Fruit flies have been used to study a wide range of biological processes, including development, behavior, and disease.
For example, researchers have used fruit flies to study the genetic basis of alcoholism, sleep disorders, and cancer, as well as to understand the mechanisms underlying development and aging.
5. Nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans)
The nematode worm is a small, transparent roundworm that is commonly used as a model organism in scientific research.
It has a simple, well-defined anatomy and a short life cycle, making it an ideal subject for studying developmental and genetic processes.
One of the main advantages of the Nematode worm as a model organism is that it has a fully sequenced genome, which has allowed researchers to identify and study the functions of specific genes.
It is also easy to maintain in the laboratory and can be studied in a variety of experimental conditions.
Nematode worm has been used to study many biological processes, including development, aging, and disease.
For example, researchers have used it to study the genetic basis of various diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, the Nematode worm has been used to study the mechanisms underlying development and aging, as well as to understand the basic principles of neural development and function.
6. African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) and Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis)
African clawed frogs, in particular, have been used extensively in scientific research due to their ease of care and breeding, as well as their ability to produce large numbers of offspring.
They are popular model organisms for studying developmental biology, genetics, and toxicology. African clawed frogs are also used in cancer research and have been used to study the effects of radiation and chemotherapy on cancer cells.
Western clawed frogs, while not as widely used as African clawed frogs, have also been used as model organisms in scientific research.
They have been used to study a variety of topics, including the effects of environmental pollutants on aquatic ecosystems, the role of hormones in development, and the mechanisms of disease.
Both African and Western clawed frogs are helpful to model organisms due to their simple anatomy, short lifespan, and their ability to regenerate certain tissues.
How Much DNA Do We Share With Other Organisms?
The amount of DNA that humans share with other organisms can vary significantly. You will be surprised by the percentage match of human DNA with these organisms:
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Fish?
Human beings share about 80% of our DNA with fish. However, this does not mean we are half fish and half human. It means that we have a common ancestor with fish, and over the course of evolution, we have both retained many of the exact genetic instructions for building and functioning as organisms.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Bananas?
Bananas surprisingly share 60% of their DNA with us, humans. This might seem surprising at first, but it is important to understand that DNA is the fundamental building block of all living organisms, and as such, all living organisms have many of the same genetic instructions for building and functioning as organisms.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Chimps?
Chimpanzees and humans are very closely related, with about 99% of our DNA being identical. This is because we share a common ancestor that lived about 6 million years ago. Chimpanzees are one of our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, along with gorillas and orangutans.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Dogs?
Dogs and humans share about 60% of their DNA, which is a relatively high level of similarity compared to other species. The shared DNA between dogs and humans is responsible for many of the characteristics that we love about our canine companions.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Monkeys?
Humans share a common ancestor with monkeys that lived about 25 million years ago. As a result, humans, and monkeys share a significant amount of DNA, with about 93% of our DNA being identical.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Potatoes?
Human beings and potatoes are both members of the plant kingdom, but they are not closely related. As a result, we do not share a significant amount of DNA with potatoes.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Pigs?
The genetic similarity between humans and pigs is closer to 98%. This high level of similarity makes pigs an attractive source of organs for xenotransplantation, which is the process of transplanting organs or tissues from one species to another.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Gorillas?
Humans and gorillas are closely related biologically, and we share about 98% of our DNA with them. This high level of DNA similarity reflects the fact that humans and gorillas evolved from a common ancestor and have a long evolutionary history together.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Dolphins?
Dolphins are mammals, and as such, they share a common ancestor with humans. The exact amount of DNA that humans and dolphins share is not known, but it is estimated to be around 90-95%.
How Much DNA Do Human Share With Cats?
Cats are mammals, and as such, they share a common ancestor with humans. The exact amount of DNA that humans and cats share is not known, but it is estimated to be around 90%.
The degree of similarity between the DNA of these different species can give scientists clues about their evolutionary relationships and can help us to understand how different species have evolved over time.
Overall, these model organisms are commonly used for genetic research due to their ease of care and maintenance in the laboratory, their relatively simple genomes, and their ability to reproduce quickly and produce large numbers of offspring, which makes it easier to study genetic changes over multiple generations.