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    Raising the Murinae Standard
    Metascience 14 (3): 477-480. 2005.
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    After 1900, the selective breeding of a few standard animals for research in the life sciences changed the way science was done. Among the pervasive changes was a transformation in scientists' assumptions about relationship between diversity and generality. Examination of the contents of two prominent physiology journals between 1885 and 1900, reveals that scientists used a diverse array of organisms in empirical research. Experimental physiologists gave many reasons for the choice of test anima…Read more
  •  43
    In 1920, Eugen Steinach and Paul Kammerer reported experiments showing that exposure to high temperatures altered the structure of the gonad and produced hyper-sexuality in "heat rats," presumably as a result of the increased production of sex hormones. Using Steinach's evidence that the gonad is a double gland with distinct sexual and generative functions, they used their findings to explain "racial" differences in the sexuality of indigenous tropical peoples and Europeans. The authors also rep…Read more
  •  21
    In America by the 1930s, albino rats had become a kind of generic standard in research on physiology and behavior that de-emphasized diversity across species. However, prior to about 1915, the early work of many of the pioneer rat researchers in America and in central Europe reflected a strong interest in species differences and a deep regard for diversity. These scientists sought broad, often medical, generality, but their quest for generality using a standard animal did not entail a de-emphasi…Read more