Model organisms are much used in modern biology. Generally small and easy to keep in the lab, these creatures serve as the ‘typical example’ of a type of organism or biological process. Fruitflies, mice, yeast, zebra fish, Arabidopsis, etc. The list of organisms that can be regarded as models sometimes seems so long that the concept is itself undermined; how long before we see the platypus championed as a model? Nevertheless the use of ‘standard’ creatures does allow the results from different laboratories across the world to be directly compared, always assuming that these labs are treating their models in a standard way.