Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):439-455 (2013)

Authors
Monika Piotrowska
State University of New York, Albany
Abstract
Extrapolation from a well-understood base population to a less-understood target population can fail if the base and target populations are not sufficiently similar. Differences between laboratory mice and humans, for example, can hinder extrapolation in medical research. Mice that carry a partial or complete human physiological system, known as humanized mice, are supposed to make extrapolation more reliable by simulating a variety of human diseases. But what justifies our belief that these mice are similar enough to their human counterparts to simulate human disease? I argue that, unless three requirements are met in the process of humanizing mice, very little does. My requirements are not meant to provide necessary and sufficient conditions that guarantee a particular outcome. Instead, they serve as a heuristic for guiding scientific judgments involving extrapolation. In developing each requirement, I engage with philosophical issues concerning the nature of model-based science and the mechanistic approach (and its limits) to making generalizations in the life sciences
Keywords Extrapolation  Genetic engineering  Humanized mice  Mechanism  Models
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9323-5
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References found in this work BETA

The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.

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Citations of this work BETA

Transferring Morality to Human–Nonhuman Chimeras.Monika Piotrowska - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics 14 (2):4-12.
The ‘Big Picture’: The Problem of Extrapolation in Basic Research.Tudor M. Baetu - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):941-964.
Trust in Science: CRISPR–Cas9 and the Ban on Human Germline Editing.Stephan Guttinger - 2018 - Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (4):1077-1096.
Models and the Mosaic of Scientific Knowledge. The Case of Immunology.Tudor M. Baetu - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):49-56.
From Replica to Instruments: Animal Models in Biomedical Research.Pierre-Luc Germain - 2014 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 36 (1):114-128.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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Creating Human-Nonhuman Chimeras: Of Mice and Men.Cynthia B. Cohen - 2003 - American Journal of Bioethics 3 (3):3 – 5.

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