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Life in the lab, are model organisms an asset or impediment to biology? (Ep 87)

What are model organisms? Why have they been so important to biology? Much of biological research over the past 50 years has relied on model organisms. These species – which include mice, rats, fruit flies, and others – have yielded many insights and led to the development of better molecular tools and a scientific culture centered on sharing. At the same time, the money and effort devoted to model organisms may have undermined work on a broader diversity of species, more representative of life as a whole. In this episode, we talk with Sabina Leonelli and Rachel Ankeny, two philosophers of biology, about the history of model organisms and the positives and negatives of studying them. Sabina Leonelli is a professor and director of the Exeter Center for the Study of Life Sciences. Rachel Ankeny is a professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide. They are also authors of the book Model Organisms, a philosophical exploration of the concept of the 'model organism' in contemporary biology. Cover art: Keating Shahmehri

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The biggest biology podcast for the biggest science and biology fans. Featuring in-depth discussions with scientists tackling the biggest questions in evolution, genetics, ecology, climate, neuroscience, diseases, the origins of life, psychology and more!! If it's biological, groundbreaking, philosophical or mysterious you'll find it here.