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Emerging model organisms featured in CSH Protocols

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Wednesday, October 1, 2008) Biological research has long relied on a small number of model organisms, species chosen because they are amenable to laboratory research and suitable for the study of a range of biological problems. However, the variety of organisms studied is currently undergoing a massive expansion, as the time and costs of sequencing genomes drops, as techniques for selectively altering the expression patterns of genes become more generally applicable, and as more and more biologists expand their interests from the purely mechanistic to include evolutionary considerations. Instead of focusing on the few standard model organisms, researchers are now introducing new species to the laboratory, opening up new avenues of research and allowing comparison and refinement of our understanding of already-established models. This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols ( introduces a new series of articles about the latest generation of model organisms.

Each article presents a new organism and provides a detailed explanation of why it is useful for laboratory research, along with information on husbandry, genetics and genomics, pointers towards further resources, and a set of basic laboratory protocols for working with that organism. The next few issues of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols will include organisms ranging from bat and butterfly to cave fish and choanoflagellates; cricket and finch, to quail, snail and tomato (see for a complete list). These articles will also be published as a printed laboratory manual, scheduled for release by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press in November, 2008 (

October's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols includes material on five emerging model organisms. Featured organisms include planarians, contributed by Michael Levin and colleagues ( and the snapdragon, from Andrew Hudson's laboratory ( Planarians have shown great value in the study of mechanisms of tissue regeneration, stem cell regulation, tissue turnover, pharmacological action of diverse drugs, cancer, and aging. The article about planarians is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols ( The snapdragon is a valuable model for biochemical and developmental genetics and is often used to examine the genetic basis for plant diversity. This article is also freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (


Contact: David Crotty
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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