The medical zoo
What can we learn from animal models?
If you are a preclinical student, the chances are you will be encountering a vast array of biological terms and concepts this year. But how many of you will take this knowledge for granted? Model organisms, defined as species that have been widely studied usually because they are easy to maintain and breed in a laboratory setting and have particular experimental advantages, have been fundamental for improving our understanding of how life works.1
Knowledge in cell biology, genetics, metabolism, and many other aspects of life comes from the study of these organisms, and they can be of great benefit in looking at the genetic or developmental origins of human disease.23 These strategies are based on the principles of the common descent of life, and the highly conserved nature of essential biological processes through evolution summarised by the Nobel prize winning biologist Jacques Monod when he said “what is true for