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Type: Journal article
Title: How to choose your research organism
Author: Dietrich, M.
Ankeny, R.A.
Crowe, N.
Green, S.
Leonelli, S.
Citation: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 2020; 80:101227-1-101227-13
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 1879-2499
Statement of
Kadhim Kadhim, Melissa E. Middeldorp, Jeroen M. Hendriks, Dennis H. Lau, and Prashanthan Sanders
Abstract: Despite August Krogh's famous admonition that a ‘convenient’ organism exists for every biological problem, we argue that appeals to ‘convenience’ are not sufficient to capture reasoning about organism choice. Instead, we offer a detailed analysis based on empirical data and philosophical arguments for a working set of twenty criteria that interact with each other in the highly contextualized judgements that biologists make about organism choice. We propose to think of these decisions as a form of ‘differential analysis’ where researchers weigh multiple criteria for organismal choice against each other, and often utilize multidimensional refinement processes to finalize their choices. The specific details of any one case make it difficult to draw generalizations or to abstract away from specific research situations. However, this analysis of criteria for organismal choice and how these are related in practice allows us to reflect more generally on what makes a particular organism useful or ‘good.’
Keywords: Organisms; Organismal choice; Krogh principle; Research design; Experimentation; Research materials; Model organisms
Description: Available online 26 December 2019, 101227
Rights: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
RMID: 1000011791
DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2019.101227
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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