I am looking for a concise word which means "that which is mimicked". For context, we have a synthetic device which mimics the behavior of a biological structure. I want to say something like:
...as the performance of [synthetic device] approaches that of its [word referring to the biological counterpart]...
EDIT: The sentence I am toying with is the following, with the bolded word something I would like to replace with the requested word:
"Fabrication techniques that combine DNA motion control with base-recognition tunnelling are likely to be of great interest in the coming decade as solid-state nanopores strive to catch up to their biological counterparts in the sequencing space."
I like "inspirators" in place of counterparts there.