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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.