The future of model organisms in human disease research

Timothy J Aitman, Charles Boone, Gary A Churchill, Michael O Hengartner, Trudy F C Mackay, Derek L Stemple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Model organisms have played a huge part in the history of studies of human genetic disease, both in identifying disease genes and characterizing their normal and abnormal functions. But is the importance of model organisms diminishing? The direct discovery of disease genes and variants in humans has been revolutionized, first by genome-wide association studies and now by whole-genome sequencing. Not only is it now much easier to directly identify potential disease genes in humans, but the genetic architecture that is being revealed in many cases is hard to replicate in model organisms. Furthermore, disease modelling can be done with increasing effectiveness using human cells. Where does this leave non-human models of disease?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-82
Number of pages8
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Biological
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


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