Model Organisms

Richard M Kliman rkliman at runet.edu
Mon Apr 28 17:44:43 EST 1997

In article <E95qDo.Dvs at gpu.utcc.utoronto.ca>,
L.A. Moran <lamoran at gpu.utcc.utoronto.ca> wrote:
>I appreciate the point that you are trying to make but perhaps it would be
>best to remember the context. Someone wanted to knw if there were any
>organisms that were more primitive than Drosphila but less primitive than
>C. elegans. Why? Because he was hoping to isolate a C. elegans gene using
>a human probe and was looking for an "intermediate" model organism. Do you
>think that this is a reasonable experiment? Is it consistant with your
>understanding of evolution. (I sure hope not or I have seriously misjudged
>you!)  (-: 

Don't get me wrong.  I understand the nature of phylogenetic 
relationships.  However, what the researcher was asking for was not 
unreasonable.  I'm going to trust that the researcher was using the term 
"primitive" in a sense that we can understand even if we disagree with 
its use here.  The researcher was looking for a model organism that 
shares a less recent common ancestor with humans than does Drosophila, 
yet shares a more recent common ancestor with humans than does C. 
elegans.  Now, this was not stated explicitly, but I see no reason to 
assume that the guy is ignorant with regard to evolution.  My suggestion 
that he consider a mollusc was made with the assumption that he 
understood evolution, but lacked an appreciation for our jargon.  I hope 
that this exchange will not deter others from asking readers of this 
newgroup for future assistance.

And unless there's been a change that I don't know about, it's reasonable 
to assume a priori that the Aplysia gene will be more similar to the 
human gene than either is to the C. elegans gene.  The experimental 
approach, at least on the surface, strikes me as rational.

Rich Kliman
Dept. of Biology
Radford University

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