Caenorhabditis elegans Culture


The nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, has rapidly become one of the premier model organisms for biomedical research. A number of the worm's attributes – including its small size, rapid life cycle and tolerance for cryogenic freezing – enable researchers to maintain and study literally millions of worms and hundreds of mutant strains within a small research laboratory.

Keywords: caenorhabditis elegans; stock maintenance; animal handling

Figure 1.

Life cycle of Caenorhabditis elegans. The duration at each stageat 25°C is indicated.



Brenner S (1974) The genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 77: 71–94.

C. elegans Sequencing Consortium (1998) Genome sequence of the nematode C. elegans: A platform for investigating biology. Science 282: 2012–2018.

Caldicott IM, Larsen PL and Riddle DL (1994) Laboratory culture of Caenorhabditis elegans and other free‐living nematodes. In: Celis JE (ed.) Cell Biology: A Laboratory Handbook. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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Further Reading

Epstein HF and Shakes DC (eds) (1995) Methods in Cell Biology, vol. 48: Caenorhabditis elegans: Modern Biological Analysis of an Organism. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Silverman HS et al. (1997) Comprehensive Protocol Collection.

Please note this article is up to date as of August 2010, when it was reviewed by the editors and author.

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How to Cite close
Shakes, Diane Carol(Apr 2001) Caenorhabditis elegans Culture. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002575]