Authors
Sabina Leonelli
University of Exeter
Abstract
Arabidopsis is currently the most popular and well-researched model organism in plant biology. This paper documents this plant's rise to scientific fame by focusing on two interrelated aspects of Arabidopsis research. One is the extent to which the material features of the plant have constrained research directions and enabled scientific achievements. The other is the crucial role played by the international community of Arabidopsis researchers in making it possible to grow, distribute and use plant specimen that embody these material features. I argue that at least part of the explosive development of this research community is due to its successful standardisation and to the subsequent use of Arabidopsis specimen as material models of plants. I conclude that model organisms have a double identity as both samples of nature and artifacts representing nature. It is the resulting ambivalence in their representational value that makes them attractive research tools for biologists
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Citations of this work BETA

What’s so Special About Model Organisms?Rachel A. Ankeny & Sabina Leonelli - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):313-323.
Integrating Data to Acquire New Knowledge: Three Modes of Integration in Plant Science.Sabina Leonelli - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):503-514.
Re-Thinking Organisms: The Impact of Databases on Model Organism Biology.Sabina Leonelli & Rachel A. Ankeny - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):29-36.
Are Humans Disturbing Conditions in Ecology?S. Andrew Inkpen - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (1):51-71.

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