Model organism facts for kids
A model organism is a non-human species that is studied over many years, building up a lot of knowledge about it.
Model organisms in genetics
Studies of X-linked traits confirmed that genes are found on chromosomes. Studies of linked traits led to the first maps of genetic loci on chromosomes. The first maps of Drosophila chromosomes were done by Alfred Sturtevant.
Because great deal is known about its development from egg to larva to adult, it is a key model for developmental genetics, or evo-devo. The hox genes, or homeobox, which control development in metazoa, were worked out first of all in Drosophila.
E. coli was an integral part of the first experiments to understand phage genetics, and early researchers, such as Seymour Benzer, used E. coli and phage T4 to understand the topography of gene structure. Before Benzer's research, it was not known whether the gene was a linear structure, or if it had a branching pattern.
E. coli was one of the first organisms to have its genome sequenced; the complete genome of E. coli K12 was published by Science in 1997.
The long-term evolution experiments using E. coli, begun by Richard Lenski in 1988, have allowed direct observation of major evolutionary shifts in the laboratory.
Other model organisms
- Phage Lamda
- Tobacco Mosaic Virus
- Aspergillus nidulans
- Neurospora crassa
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Model organism Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.