The fusion of science and technology
The future of science is bright. Our understanding of all branches of science is rapidly advancing, partly attributable to the increased availability of technology, fundamental to scientific research. From the improvement of general laboratory equipment such as microscopes and centrifuges, to more specialised equipment such as ultrasound scanners, technology is enabling new discoveries to be made everyday.
It is likely that improvements in technology will be able to transcend scientific research, across all species. Presently, research is usually focused on the more conventional human and mouse research models. It is easy to understand the implications of human studies, whereas the vast number of mouse models currently available, have enabled numerous discoveries on gene function and both physiological and pathological conditions. Nevertheless, current studies on what could be regarded as unconventional animal models highlight the importance of technology being able to meet the demands of research.
The availability of reagents for scientific research has exploded in recent years across many species, conventional or otherwise. To focus on the horse, which may be regarded as a more unconventional animal model, availability and identification of suitable reagents has much improved, enabling the subsequent increased quality and quantity of research. In addition, equine researchers are developing reagents specifically targeted towards the horse, as well as utilizing reagents that can ‘cross-react’, whereby they are originally intended for another species, such as humans.
Although not always optimal, these reagents have improved our understanding of equine biology, increasing the availability of potential treatments and therapies for a variety of conditions. In contrast, it is indisputable that equine research is not as developed as it could be and thus, in order to progress with science across all species, the advancement of technology should be harnessed to expand the number of reagents available for research. It is clear that if the number of reagents available for equine studies were enhanced, more intricate and complex experiments could be carried out, rivalling those already carried out in humans and mice. The subsequent results could then be applied both within the species of interest, as well as for use in comparative studies, highlighting similarities and differences useful for evolutionary research, as well as improved understanding of diseases and conditions common across all species. The future of science may be bright, but with the help of technology could undoubtedly be brighter.
Author: Melissa Robbin of Vet Image Solutions.
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Chicago, Illinois, United States