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Without exception, all of the work at iGEM in previous years has been restricted to single-celled organisms, mostly bacteria. This has naturally imposed limitations on the scope and application of iGEM projects. We decided to introduce Caenorhabditis elegans, an easily-engineered nematode worm, as a new chassis for future teams to use as the platform for their projects. This opens up a new tier of possibilities for projects in the future, as iGEM enters the multicellular world.

Before an iGEM team can begin work on a project using this new chassis, a lot of learning is necessary. WormGuide is a comprehensive educational and reference work that we have designed to allow future iGEM teams to quickly and easily learn about C. elegans, and whether a worm project is right for them. We hope that it will help people learn the background knowledge necessary for the use of this organism for work in synthetic biology, while simultaneously helping them understand what opportunities the new chassis creates.


You can also browse WormGuide by using the graphical navigation at the top.

  • Context
    • Introduction: A little bit more information on what these worms are.
    • History: A brief history of C. elegans in biology and why it is so widely studied.
    • Online Resources: Some of the pages you'll be using as a synthetic worm biologist.
  • Physiology and Anatomy
    • Pseudocoelom: The "blood" of the worm which bathes all tissues and allows for gas, nutrient and hormone transfer between cells, as well as maintaining osmotic and internal pressure.
    • Digestive: The pharynx and intestine.
    • Nervous System: The worm's sensory apparatus, the worm's muscles, and how they all fit together.
    • Exterior: The cuticle and epicuticle that surround the worm.
    • Reproductive: The reproductive anatomy and the worm's lifecycle.
  • Genetics
  • Protocols