49,640 research outputs found

    Model Organisms

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    A philosophical exploration of the concept of the 'model organism' in contemporary biology. Thinking about model organisms in order to examine how living organisms have been brought into the laboratory and used to gain a better understanding of biology, and to explore the research practices, commitments, and norms underlying this understanding

    Model organisms

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    Non-mammalian model organisms in epigenetic research : an overview

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    Recent advances in sequencing technology and genome editing tools had an indisputably enormous impact on our understanding of complex biological pathways and their genetic and epigenetic regulation. Unlike genetics, a study of phenotype development as a result of genotypic diversity, epigenetics studies the emergence of (possibly heritable) phenotypic assortment from one DNA sequence. Epigenetic modifications (i.e., DNA methylation, histone tail modifications, noncoding RNA interference, and many others) are diverse and can bring an additional layer of complexity to phenotype development and it's inheritance. Still, today, detailed mechanisms behind the development of epigenetic marks, their interaction, and their role in transgenerational inheritance of phenotypes are not fully understood. Therefore, chromatin biology and epigenetic research have a rich history of chasing discoveries in a variety of model organisms, including yeast, worms, flies, fish, and plants. Use of these models has opened numerous new avenues for investigation in the field. In the coming future, model organisms will continue to serve as an inseparable part of studies related to interpreting complex genomic and epigenomic data, gene–protein functional relationship, various diseases pathways, aging, and many others. Use of the model organism will provide insights not only into novel genetic players but also the profound impact of epigenetics on phenotype development. Here, we present a brief overview of the most commonly used nonmammalian model organism (i.e., fruit fly, nematode worm, zebrafish, and yeast) as potential experimental systems for epigenetic studies

    Mammalian models of extended healthy lifespan

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    Over the last two centuries, there has been a significant increase in average lifespan expectancy in the developed world. One unambiguous clinical implication of getting older is the risk of experiencing age-related diseases including various cancers, dementia, type-2 diabetes, cataracts and osteoporosis. Historically, the ageing process and its consequences were thought to be intractable. However, over the last two decades or so, a wealth of empirical data has been generated which demonstrates that longevity in model organisms can be extended through the manipulation of individual genes. In particular, many pathological conditions associated with the ageing process in model organisms, and importantly conserved from nematodes to humans, are attenuated in long-lived genetic mutants. For example, several long-lived genetic mouse models show attenuation in age-related cognitive decline, adiposity, cancer and glucose intolerance. Therefore, these long-lived mice enjoy a longer period without suffering the various sequelae of ageing. The greatest challenge in the biology of ageing is to now identify the mechanisms underlying increased healthy lifespan in these model organisms. Given that the elderly are making up an increasingly greater proportion of society, this focused approach in model organisms should help identify tractable interventions that can ultimately be translated to humans

    Genome editing in non-model organisms opens new horizons for comparative physiology

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    For almost 100 years, biologists have made fundamental discoveries using a handful of model organisms that are not representative of the rich diversity found in nature. The advent of CRISPR genome editing now opens up a wide range of new organisms to mechanistic investigation. This increases not only the taxonomic breadth of current research but also the scope of biological problems that are now amenable to study, such as population control of invasive species, management of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, the creation of chimeric animal hosts to grow human organs and even the possibility of resurrecting extinct species such as passenger pigeons and mammoths. Beyond these practical applications, work on non-model organisms enriches our basic understanding of the natural world. This special issue addresses a broad spectrum of biological problems in non-model organisms and highlights the utility of genome editing across levels of complexity from development and physiology to behaviour and evolution

    Casting a wide net: use of diverse model organisms to advance toxicology

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    © The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Hahn, M. E., & Sadler, K. C. Casting a wide net: use of diverse model organisms to advance toxicology. Disease Models & Mechanisms, 13, (2020): dmm.043844, doi: 10.1242/dmm.043844.Toxicology – the study of how chemicals interact with biological systems – has clear relevance to human health and disease. Persistent exposure to natural and synthetic chemicals is an unavoidable part of living on our planet; yet, we understand very little about the effects of exposure to the vast majority of chemicals. While epidemiological studies can provide strong statistical inference linking chemical exposure to disease, research in model systems is essential to elucidate the mechanisms of action and to predict outcomes. Most research in toxicology utilizes a handful of mammalian models that represent a few distinct branches of the evolutionary tree. This narrow focus constrains the understanding of chemical-induced disease processes and systems that have evolved in response to exposures. We advocate for casting a wider net in environmental toxicology research to utilize diverse model systems, including zebrafish, and perform more mechanistic studies of cellular responses to chemical exposures to shift the perception of toxicology as an applied science to that of a basic science. This more-inclusive perspective will enrich the field and should remain central to research on chemical-induced disease.K.C.S. acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)(5R01AA018886). M.E.H. acknowledges support from the National Institute ofEnvironmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) through the Boston University SuperfundResearch Program (P42ES007381) and the Woods Hole Center for Oceans andHuman Health (NIEHS grant P01ES028938 and National Science Foundation grantOCE-1840381)

    Design of RNAi reagents for invertebrate model organisms and human disease vectors

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    RNAi has become an important tool to silence gene expression in a variety of organisms, in particular when classical genetic methods are missing. However, application of this method in functional studies has raised new challenges in the design of RNAi reagents in order to minimize false positive and false negative results. Since the performance of reagents can be rarely validated on a genome-wide scale, improved computational methods are required that consider experimentally derived design parameters. Here, we describe computational methods for the design of RNAi reagents for invertebrate model organisms and human disease vectors, such as Anopheles. We describe procedures on how to design short and long double-stranded RNAs for single genes, and evaluate their predicted specificity and efficiency. Using a bioinformatics pipeline we also describe how to design a genome-wide RNAi library for Anopheles gambiae

    Genomics of model organisms

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    Model Organisms in Plant Genetics

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    Model plants are required for research when targeted plant species are difficult to study or when research material is unavailable. Importantly, knowledge gained from model plants can be generally translated to other related plant species because many key cellular and molecular processes are conserved and regulated by ‘blueprint’ genes inherited from a common ancestor. Model Organisms in Plant Genetics addresses characteristics of model plants such as Arabidopsis, moss, soybean, maize, and cotton, highlighting their advantages and limitations as well as their importance in studies of plant development, plant genome polyploidization, adaptive selection, evolution, and domestication, as well as their importance in crop improvement

    Longevity: Lesson from model organisms

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    Research on longevity and healthy aging promises to increase our lifespan and decrease the burden of degenerative diseases with important social and economic effects. Many aging theories have been proposed, and important aging pathways have been discovered. Model organisms have had a crucial role in this process because of their short lifespan, cheap maintenance, and manipulation possibilities. Yeasts, worms, fruit flies, or mammalian models such as mice, monkeys, and recently, dogs, have helped shed light on aging processes. Genes and molecular mechanisms that were found to be critical in simple eukaryotic cells and species have been confirmed in humans mainly by the functional analysis of mammalian orthologues. Here, we review conserved aging mechanisms discovered in different model systems that are implicated in human longevity as well and that could be the target of anti-aging interventions in human
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