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How to Choose Your Research Organism

Dietrich, Michael R. and Ankeny, Rachel and Crowe, Nathan and Green, Sara and Leonelli, Sabina (2019) How to Choose Your Research Organism. [Preprint]

Organism Choice 2019 REVISED FINAL.pdf

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Despite August Krogh’s famous admonition that a ‘convenient’ organism exists for every biological problem, we argue that appeals to ‘convenience’ are not sufficient to capture reasoning about organism choice. Instead, we offer a detailed analysis based on empirical data and philosophical arguments for a working set of twenty criteria that interact with each other in the highly contextualized judgements that biologists make about organism choice. We propose to think of these decisions as a form of ‘differential analysis’ where researchers weigh multiple criteria for organismal choice against each other, and often utilize multidimensional refinement processes to finalize their choices. The specific details of any one case make it difficult to draw generalizations or to abstract away from specific research situations. However, this analysis of criteria for organismal choice and how these are related in practice allows us to reflect more generally on what makes a particular organism useful or ‘good.’

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Item Type: Preprint
Dietrich, Michael R.
Ankeny, Rachel
Additional Information: Accepted for publication in Studies in the History and the Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Part C
Keywords: organisms; organismal choice; Krogh Principle; research design; experimentation; research materials; model organisms
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Sabina Leonelli
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2019 03:11
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2019 03:11
Item ID: 16605
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 16 October 2019

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