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Biologists researching diseases will frequently use animal models. The way I understand it, there are species of animals, such as "mouse", and lines of mice, such as Black six, NMRI or also genetically engineered lines like B6.Cg-Tg(CAG-cre/Esr1*)5Amc/J. But they also sometimes take cell lines such as HeLa and transplant them into animals, or treat them in vitro.

Is there a word which covers both "animal line" and "cell line" and is in widespread use? I thought that "model organism" would be a good way to express it, but a biologist working in disease models told me that when she hears that, she only thinks of animals, never of cell lines. She wasn't able to come up with a term which covers both. Her best try was "experimental system", but she conceded that, if used out of context, no biologist would recognize that it is about animal and cell lines.

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  • $\begingroup$ 'disease models' sounds pretty good actually. maybe 'model system' $\endgroup$ – shigeta May 22 '14 at 23:51
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There is no super-term that I can think of but you could say genetically modified (mouse) samples/specimens?

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  • $\begingroup$ No, because not all mice or cells are genetically modified. The Black Six and NMRI I listed above are examples of wildtype mice, and they are still lab lines. $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Jul 10 '15 at 12:23

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