Caenorhabditis elegans as an Experimental Organism


Genetic analysis in the small nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has elucidated the mechanisms of many basic biological processes.

Keywords: genetics; development; cell lineage; nematode

Figure 1.

Caenorhabditis elegans adult hermaphrodite, bright‐field view; anterior to the left and dorsal up; the animal is about 1 mm long.

Figure 2.

Cell lineage of a C. elegans hermaphrodite. The vertical axis represents time postfertilization; each cell is represented as a vertical line, cell divisions by horizontal lines. The lineage origin of some tissues has been indicated. The germline lineage is variable and has not been determined. Many somatic cells later fuse to form multinucleate syncytia (not shown).

Figure 3.

(a) C. elegans adult hermaphrodite stained with DAPI to show nuclei; the line of small nuclei along the ventral side of the animal represents ventral cord neurons. (b) GABAergic neurons in a living first larval stage animal, visualized using a transgene in which green fluorescent protein is expressed under the control of the unc‐30 gene. The bright spots are cell bodies in the ventral cord; some fluorescence in cell processes can also be seen.

Figure 4.

Overview of the cell signals occurring during vulval development.



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How to Cite close
Chisholm, Andrew, and Jin, Yishi(Mar 2003) Caenorhabditis elegans as an Experimental Organism. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000564]