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What animal a researcher chooses to work with can depend on both the scientific questions they want to ask and the ease of raising and working with that animal in the lab. There are a number of well-established species that feature frequently in lab-based studies, but the traditional models represent a small fraction of the overall diversity in the animal kingdom. At the “edge” of the kingdom are three phyla—ctenophores, sponges, and placozoans—that are making their way out of their marine habitats and into the lab as emerging model animals that can help researchers better understand biology and think about solutions to life’s puzzles in novel ways.
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