Organismo modello

Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.
(Reindirizzamento da Organismi modello)
Caenorhabditis elegans, un tipico organismo modello eucariote
La Drosophila melanogaster, il più famoso "animale da esperimento"

Un organismo modello è una specie estensivamente studiata per comprendere particolari fenomeni biologici, in base al presupposto che le acquisizioni fatte sull'organismo modello possano fornire indicazioni sugli altri organismi. Ciò è possibile grazie al fatto che i principi biologici fondamentali, come le vie metaboliche, di regolazione e di sviluppo, e i geni che le codificano, si mantengono attraverso l'evoluzione.

Storicamente il primo organismo modello impiegato in esperimenti rigorosi per la comprensione dell'ereditarietà è stato il Pisum sativum[1] di Gregor Mendel.[2][3] Il pisello da orto infatti risponde a specifiche esigenze di incrocio controllato, rapido passo generazionale, prole numerosa, caratteri fenotipici alternativi e disponibilità di numerose varietà commerciali. Queste caratteristiche lo resero ottimale per un approccio ai problemi della ereditarietà di tipo quantitativo e statistico.

Criteri di scelta[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Spesso, gli organismi modello vengono scelti in base alla loro capacità di essere adattabili a manipolazioni sperimentali. Di solito vengono preferite le seguenti caratteristiche: breve ciclo cellulare, tecniche per manipolazione genetica (ceppi inbred, linee di cellule staminali, e sistemi di transfezione). A volte, il riarrangiamento genetico favorisce il sequenziamento del genoma dell'organismo modello, per esempio, perché è molto compatto o per avere scarsa quantità di DNA non codificante, il cosiddetto "DNA spazzatura" (junk DNA).

Esistono numerosi organismi modello. Il primo organismo modello per la biologia molecolare probabilmente è stato il batterio E.coli, comunemente presente nel sistema digerente umano (e di solito ha attività benefica—il pericoloso ceppo Escherichia coli O157:H7 è raro). Viene utilizzato anche nello studio di molti batteriofagi, specialmente il fago lambda.

Negli eucarioti sono stati studiati approfonditamente alcuni lieviti, specialmente il Saccharomyces cerevisiae (lievito della birra), soprattutto perché sono facili da gestire. Il ciclo cellulare in un lievito è molto simile al ciclo cellulare negli umani ed è regolato da proteine omologhe. È stato studiato anche il moscerino della frutta Drosophila melanogaster, sempre perché è facile da gestire per essere un organismo multicellulare. Il verme Caenorhabditis elegans è stato studiato perché ha stadi di sviluppo estremamente definiti ed è possibile, quindi, rilevare rapidamente delle anormalità.

Quando i ricercatori cercano un organismo da usare nei loro studi, prendono in considerazione parecchie caratteristiche. Le più comuni sono le dimensioni, il tempo di generazione, l'accessibilità, la manipolazione, la genetica, la conservazione dei meccanismi e un potenziale beneficio economico. Con la diffusione della biologia molecolare comparata, i ricercatori hanno cercato organismi modello che rappresentassero diverse tipologie di vita.

Principali organismi modello[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Virus[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Procarioti[modifica | modifica sorgente]


Eucarioti unicellulari[modifica | modifica sorgente]


Eucarioti pluricellulari[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Piante[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Funghi[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Invertebrati[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Vertebrati[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Organismi modello usati per specifiche ricerche[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Selezione e conflitti sessuali[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Zone ibride[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Ecologia genomica[modifica | modifica sorgente]

Tavola genetica degli organismi modello[modifica | modifica sorgente]

La tabella indica lo status del Progetto genoma per ciascun organismo, mostrando dell'organismo la ricombinazione omologa e lo stato delle conoscenze delle vie biochimiche dell'organismo.

Organismo Sequenziazione genomica Ricombinazione omologa Biochimica
Procariota
Escherichia coli Si Si Eccellente
Eucariota unicellulare
Dictyostelium discoideum Si Si Eccellente
Saccharomyces cerevisiae Si Si Buono
Schizosaccharomyces pombe Si Si Buono
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii si No Buono
Tetrahymena thermophila Si Si Buono
Eucariota pluricellulare
Caenorhabditis elegans Si Difficoltoso Non così buono
Drosophila melanogaster Si Difficile Buono
Arabidopsis thaliana Si No Cattivo
Physcomitrella patens Si Si Eccellente
Vertebrato
Danio rerio Si No Buono
Mus musculus Si Si Buono
Xenopus laevis[199] Si
Homo sapiens NB: non è un organismo modello Si Si Buono

Note[modifica | modifica sorgente]

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