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Fly, Fish, Mouse and Worm

The 'model animal' method epitomizes the success of the scientific strategy of reductionism, says Tom Shakespeare. But it may also illustrate the downside.

"When I was a child, one of my favourite books was Bear, Mouse and Water Beetle," says Tom Shakespeare. "Today, I want to tell you a contemporary story, which you could call Fly, Fish, Mouse and Worm."

These 'model animals' help scientists to understand the basic processes common to all living creatures. But while model animals epitomize the success of the scientific strategy of reductionism, they may also illustrate the downside.

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10 minutes

A Point Of View: Fly, Fish, Mouse and Worm

Scientists commonly use just four species to investigate the basic processes shared by all living creatures. Tom Shakespeare explains how the fruit fly, the zebra fish, the roundworm and the mouse found themselves at the forefront of scientific research.

 

Read Tom Shakespeare's article on the BBC News website

 

 

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Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Shakespeare
Producer Richard Knight

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