A human is a complicated organism, and it is considered unethical to do many kinds of experiments on human subjects. For these reasons, biologists often use simpler 'model' organisms that are easy to keep and manipulate in the laboratory. Despite obvious differences, model organisms share with humans many key biochemical and physiological functions that have been conserved (maintained) by evolution. Each of the following model organisms has its advantages and disadvantages in different research applications. This tool allows you to examine the similarities between different systems by comparing the proteins they share and the proportion of DNA they have in common. Choose a gene from the drop-down menu and select the species you want to compare. Rolling over the images will give you a more detailed description of each model. Clicking on a gene’s name will take you to the National Center for Biological Information, where you can explore the latest relevant scientific literature.


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