Are we working with a model organism?


There are organisms that are highly popular in research, like fruit flies or mice in animals,Arabidopsis or poplars in plants. There are very good reasons to work with those species (model organisms), as there are very good reasons not to work with them.

If you work in primary production—cereals, veggies, fruits, animals, or trees as I do—in essence feeding the world and providing biomaterials, we tend to think as not working with model organisms. However, once we have been working in a breeding programme for a while, we start accumulating measurements of a very broad set of traits under wide-ranging environmental conditions. Not only that, but then we start using some of that same genetic material in cultivation/management trials.

Progressively we start managing enough information that some of the genotypes in our breeding programme start acting/feeling like model organisms. So, yes, Pinus radiata (radiata pine, Monterrey pine) is my model organism.

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