Team:Queens-Canada/About C. elegans


About C. elegans

Caenorhabditis elegans is a nematode usually found in temperate soil. It is transparent, approximately 1 mm in length, and has been used as a model organism since 1974. Genomic sequencing was completed in 2002, making C. elegans the first multicellular organism to have its genome completely sequenced. The C. elegans genome is approximately 100 million base pairs in length and contains around 20,100 genes.1

Reproduction and morphogenesis

Like most animals and many other eukaryotes, C. elegans is diploid. Comparative studies of other members of the genus Caenorhabditis suggest that they most likely evolved with a normal balance between female (XX karyotype) and male (X0 karyotype; only one sex chromosome) sexes, however modern-day C. elegans reproduces primarily through the self-fertilisation of hermaphrodites (which make up 99.5% of the population.)

Why C. elegans?

  • C. elegans is eukaryotic.
  • C. elegans is a multicellular organism, with different tissues that can be modified separately.
  • C. elegans research has led to 3 Nobel Prizes in the past 8 years.

Links & Additional Resources

  • WormBook is a great functional overview of worm physiology, with an emphasis on development.
    • WormMethods is a section of WormBook that contains protocols for working with worms.
  • WormAtlas is a great anatomical overview.
  • The Worm Breeder's Gazette is a informal, non-refereed, biannual newsletter dedicated to C. elegans and other nematodes.
  • GFPWorm has visual information on C. elegans expression patterns.
  • Promoterome contains a comprehensive collection of promoters for known C. elegans genes.
  • UTRome and UTRdb are databases of 3' UTRs in C. elegans.
  • NeuralNet contains visual representations of C. elegans' neural network.
  • The Caenorhabditis genetics center is a bank of virtually every strain of C. elegans used in the lab. Strains can also be ordered from this site.

Footnotes and Citations

1: WS205 Release Letter. WormBase Wiki. Accessed on 2010-06-22.