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Model Organisms as Simulators: The Context of Cross-Species Research and Emergence

  • Sim-Hui TeeEmail author
Original Paper


Model organisms are a living form of scientific models. Despite the widespread use of model organisms in scientific research, the actual representational relationship between model organisms and their target species is often poorly characterized in the context of cross-species research. Many model organisms do not represent the target species adequately, let alone accurately. This is partly due to the complex and emergent life phenomena in the organism, and partly due to the fact that a model organism is always taken to represent a broad range of diverse organisms. More often than not, model organisms are taken as a reference point for an extrapolation to be made to the unknown characteristics of other species. I propose to view model organisms as analogue simulators which represent the emergent phenomenon in the context of cross-species research. A model organism represents a wide range of species by simulating their molecular microstates which underlie various emergent phenomena. I show that although model organisms represent the target species inadequately at many levels of complexity, they have epistemic values as a simulator in virtue of which the emergent phenomenon can be modeled dynamically, a virtue that is hardly attainable by non-dynamic models.


Model organisms Simulation Simulators Emergence Cross-species Scientific representation Models Modeling 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xiamen University MalaysiaSepangMalaysia

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