Curated by
Ian Baldwin

The Natural History of Model Organisms

Essays on ten model organisms, from Arabidopsis thaliana to the zebrafish.
Collection

Many of the fundamental principles of biology were discovered in model organisms, but there is still a lot to learn about their life and biology "in the wild". This special series of articles explores what is known about the natural history of a range of model organisms, and explains how studying these organisms in their natural habitats could lead to breakthroughs in many different areas of biology.

Collection

    1. Ecology
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: New opportunities at the wild frontier

    Jane Alfred, Ian T Baldwin
    A better understanding of the natural history of model organisms will increase their value as model systems and also keep them at the forefront of research.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology
    2. Plant Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: Planting molecular functions in an ecological context with Arabidopsis thaliana

    Ute Krämer
    Research in molecular ecology and evolution is increasingly utilizing the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, placing a spotlight on its natural history.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: C. elegans outside the Petri dish

    Lise Frézal, Marie-Anne Félix
    To leverage the tools, resources and knowledge that exist for C. elegans so that we can study ecology, evolution and other aspects of biology, we need to understand the natural history of this important model organism.
    Feature Article
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    1. Developmental Biology and Stem Cells
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: An organismal perspective on C. intestinalis development, origins and diversification

    Matthew J Kourakis, William C Smith
    The life cycle and morphology of the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis shed light on vertebrate evolution.
    Feature Article
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    1. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: The secret lives of Drosophila flies

    Therese Ann Markow
    After decades of intensive research, D. melanogaster and its relatives could provide important tools for investigating future biological questions about human health and environmental change, but only if we better understand their natural history.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology
    3. Microbiology and Infectious Disease

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: The unexhausted potential of E. coli

    Zachary D Blount
    A better understanding of the remarkable diversity, natural history and complex ecology of E. coli in the wild could shed new light on its biology and role in disease, and further expand its many uses as a model organism.
    Feature Article
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    1. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology
    2. Plant Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: Genetic, evolutionary and plant breeding insights from the domestication of maize

    Sarah Hake, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra
    Comparing maize to its wild ancestor teosinte advances our understanding of how it and other cereal crops evolved, and also identifies the genetic variation that can contribute to important agricultural traits.
    Feature Article
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    1. Genes and Chromosomes
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: Insights into mammalian biology from the wild house mouse Mus musculus

    Megan Phifer-Rixey, Michael W Nachman
    Studies of the house mouse Mus musculus have provided important insights into mammalian biology, and efforts to study wild house mice and to create new inbred strains from wild populations have the potential to increase its usefulness as a model system.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: Peromyscus mice as a model for studying natural variation

    Nicole L Bedford, Hopi E Hoekstra
    The deer mouse (Peromyscus) has emerged as a model system for studying many aspects of biology, supported by extensive historical knowledge of its fascinating and varied natural history.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: The fascinating and secret wild life of the budding yeast S. cerevisiae

    Gianni Liti
    The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has informed our understanding of molecular biology and genetics for decades, and learning more about its natural history could fuel a new era of functional and evolutionary studies of this classic model organism.
    Feature Article
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    1. Ecology
    2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology

    The Natural History of Model Organisms: Advancing biology through a deeper understanding of zebrafish ecology and evolution

    David M Parichy
    The zebrafish is a premier model organism for biomedical research, with a rich array of tools and genomic resources, and combining these with a fuller appreciation of wild zebrafish ecology could greatly extend its utility in biological research.
    Feature Article
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Contributors

  1. Ian Baldwin
    Ian Baldwin
    Senior Editor