Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/69905
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Type: Journal article
Title: What's so special about model organisms?
Author: Ankeny, R.
Leonelli, S.
Citation: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 2011; 42(2 Sp Iss):313-323
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0039-3681
1879-2510
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Rachel A. Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli
Abstract: This paper aims to identify the key characteristics of model organisms that make them a specific type of model within the contemporary life sciences: in particular, we argue that the term " model organism" does not apply to all organisms used for the purposes of experimental research. We explore the differences between experimental and model organisms in terms of their material and epistemic features, and argue that it is essential to distinguish between their representational scope and representational target. We also examine the characteristics of the communities who use these two types of models, including their research goals, disciplinary affiliations, and preferred practices to show how these have contributed to the conceptualization of a model organism. We conclude that model organisms are a specific subgroup of organisms that have been standardized to fit an integrative and comparative mode of research, and that it must be clearly distinguished from the broader class of experimental organisms. In addition, we argue that model organisms are the key components of a unique and distinctively biological way of doing research using models. © 2010.
Keywords: Experimental organism
Genetics
Model organism
Modeling
Philosophy of biology
Representation
Rights: Crown Copyright 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.11.039
Description (link): http://www.journals.elsevier.com/studies-in-history-and-philosophy-of-science-part-a/
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