Emerging from the bottleneck: benefits of the comparative approach to modern neuroscience

Trends Neurosci. 2015 May;38(5):273-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.02.008. Epub 2015 Mar 21.


Neuroscience has historically exploited a wide diversity of animal taxa. Recently, however, research has focused increasingly on a few model species. This trend has accelerated with the genetic revolution, as genomic sequences and genetic tools became available for a few species, which formed a bottleneck. This coalescence on a small set of model species comes with several costs that are often not considered, especially in the current drive to use mice explicitly as models for human diseases. Comparative studies of strategically chosen non-model species can complement model species research and yield more rigorous studies. As genetic sequences and tools become available for many more species, we are poised to emerge from the bottleneck and once again exploit the rich biological diversity offered by comparative studies.

Keywords: comparative; model; mouse; translational.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Neurosciences / history
  • Neurosciences / trends*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*