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Model Organisms

L.A. Moran lamoran at gpu.utcc.utoronto.ca
Thu May 8 14:55:11 EST 1997

>About one month ago French A. Lewis asked,
>> Does any one know of any invertebrate organisms that are less primitive
>> than C. elegans, and more primitive than Drosophila that are currently
>> being studied for neurobiology?
>> We are attempting to clone a C. elegans homologue of a human gene, and are
>> looking for an intermediate organism to jump to.   Any information would
>> be appreciated.
>> Thanks in advance,
>> French Lewis
>> CSI/IBR Center for Developmental Neuroscience

and Rich Kliman replied,
>Aplysia comes to mind.  I don't know how much genetics has been done on
>this one, but it's a great model organism for neurobiology.

There followed some discussion about the meaning of "primitive". I suggested
that it is inappropriate to use the words "primitive" and "advanced" to
describe living organisms. I also suggested that the experiment that was
being proposed by French Lewis is not possible because there is no
intermediate organism that one can "jump" to.

Rich Kliman then defended his suggestion of Aplysia and I asked him,

    "Could you please explain how you could clone the C. elegans gene 
     using Aplysia as an intermediate?"

and Rich replied,

    "Larry, Why would I want to do something as stupid as that?  Of 
     course we would not assume that the Aplysia gene is any more similar 
     to the C. elegans gene. And that's not what I inferred to be the 
     researcher's intended approach."  


OK. I thought that French Lewis wanted to clone the C. elegans gene using
a human probe and that he was looking for a species that was intermediate
between Drosophila and C. elegans. You interpreted his question very

At least we are agreed on one thing. The experiment that I described is not
possible. It would be nice if French Lewis would tell us what he really 
wanted in case I have misinterpreted.

Larry Moran

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