The importance of model systems: Why we study a virus on the brink of global eradication

PLoS Pathogens
http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/
[Accessed 22 April 2017]

Research Matters
The importance of model systems: Why we study a virus on the brink of global eradication
Julie K. Pfeiffer
| published 20 Apr 2017 PLOS Pathogens
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006330
[Extract]
…Poliovirus is an incredible model system. It grows like a weed. We can make virus stocks containing 1010 infectious viruses without even trying very hard. For perspective, if these 10,000,000,000 viruses were dollar bills, the stack would be 68 miles high. Working with poliovirus is safe due to vaccination. We can make targeted mutations in the genome and generate mutant polioviruses within days. There are mouse strains that can be infected. Most importantly, poliovirus has been studied for over 100 years. We know a lot about poliovirus and we have great tools in our toolbox. If you’re going to tackle a tough problem, it helps to have a great toolbox. For other fields, the ideal toolbox may be fruit flies, worms, or yeast. Collectively, these model systems have illuminated biology and have led to major advancements in human health. What have we learned using poliovirus?…