I wanted to know, if it is possible to prove a new organism as an animal model for any human disease by only Bioinformatics methods like NGS and Structural bioinformatics.

For Example, let's say Drosophila is an animal model for Disease X as it have some 60-70% similarity in the gene and protein structure. Can we prove, a newer organism is a better model for X, if it shows a higher similarity, let's say 80-85%, to gene and protein structure of human?

UPDATE (First I posted it as comment! But I think, this is suited here best!)

@David: Thanks for your answer! Actually, I did looked into it, Large animal models of rare genetic disorders: sheep as phenotypically relevant models of human genetic disease. I am more interested in listing down the problems if we do start this kind of project in our lab. Do NGS is a solution or what part of biology we need to focus so, that we can be more accurate.

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    $\begingroup$ The general problem of predicting the effects [of variation] of sequence on phenotype is far from being solved, so i'd say no. But still, that could be an encouraging signal to pursue experimentation on the new organism. $\endgroup$
    – Eliane B.
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


It is naïve to think that the extent of protein similarity is sufficient to determine what is the best animal model for a human disease. The physiology of the animal and the question of compensatory genes are all factors that contribute.

Indeed, if the protein is functionally similar, it may be irrelevant if it has diverged in other regions. And, of course, there are ethical and cost considerations — the animals closest to humans are the apes!

I suggest you search for literature on the subject. It’s not my field, but Googling brought up this paper discussing models for kidney disease, and no doubt you could find much more yourself.


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