microcosm

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microcosm

(mī′krə-kŏz′əm)
n.
A small, representative system having analogies to a larger system in constitution, configuration, or development: "He sees the auto industry as a microcosm of the U.S. itself" (William J. Hampton).

mi′cro·cos′mic (-kŏz′mĭk), mi′cro·cos′mi·cal (-mĭ-kəl) adj.
mi′cro·cos′mi·cal·ly adv.

microcosm

  1. an entity which is a miniature version of a more common, extensive whole.
  2. a controlled laboratory system that contains the necessary components of the ECOSYSTEM being studied. Microcosms are designed to simulate natural systems, but are likely to be simplified versions of such systems and thus may exclude or alter certain of the processes that occur naturally A microcosm may represent a portion of a natural system, that has been brought into the laboratory with the INDIGENOUS ORGANISMS and processes relatively undisturbed. Alternatively, a microcosm may be constructed in the laboratory as a simpler representation of the natural system, so that certain biological factors can be studied. The limitations of any particular microcosm must be fully understood when interpreting the results obtained from it.