The Value of Comparative Animal Research: Krogh’s Principle Facilitates Scientific Discoveries

Tyler J Stevenson, Beau A. Alward, Francis J. P. Ebling, Russell D. Fernald, Aubrey Kelly, Alexander G. Ophir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Biomedical research is dominated by relatively few animal models. Research has over-relied on these models due to their well-described genomes, genomic manipulations and short generation times. However, recent advances in large scale molecular sequencing experiments have revealed, in some cases, the limited similarities in experimental outcomes observed in common rodents (i.e. mice) compared to humans. The value of more varied comparative animal models includes examples such as long-term body weight regulation in seasonally breeding hamsters as a means to help understand the obesity epidemic, vocal learning in songbirds to illuminate language acquisition and maintenance, and reproduction in cichlid fish to discover novel genes conserved in humans. Studying brain peptides in prairie voles and cichlids advanced knowledge about social behavior. Taken together, experiments on diverse animal species highlight non-traditional systems for advancing our understanding of human health and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

There are no conflicts of interest to declare. This paper developed from the 2016 Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences to TJS. TJS has received funding from The Leverhulme Trust. FJPE is in receipt of funding from the BBSRC (BB/M001555/1). The National Institutes of Health has funded RDF (NS 034950, NS093277, NIMH 087930), AGO (HD079573, IOS-1354760) and AMK (HD081959). BAA is an Arnold O. Beckman postdoctoral fellow.


  • animal
  • model
  • neuroendocrinology
  • physiology
  • behavior


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