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Encyclopedia > Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans

An adult hermaphrodite C. elegans worm
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Secernentea
Order: Rhabditida
Family: Rhabditidae
Genus: Caenorhabditis
Species: elegans
Binomial name
Caenorhabditis elegans
Maupas, 1900

Caenorhabditis elegans (IPA: [ˌsiːnəʊræbˈdaɪtɪs ˈelegænz]) is a free-living nematode (roundworm), about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner [1] and it has since been used extensively as a model organism. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (6424x2113, 736 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Classes Adenophorea    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms or nematodes (Phylum Nematoda from Gr. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... Families Rhabditida is an order of free-living microbivorous nematodes (roundworms) living in soil. ... This genus contains the noted model organism Caenorhabditis elegans and several other species for which a genome sequence is available for, or which is currently being determined. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Classes Adenophorea    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria    Subclass Tylenchia The nematodes or roundworms (Phylum Nematoda from Greek (nema): thread + -ode like) are one of the most common phyla of animals, with over 20,000 different described species (over 15,000 are parasitic). ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... Molecular biology is the study of biology at a molecular level. ... Views of a Foetus in the Womb, Leonardo da Vinci, ca. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A model organism is a species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. ...

Contents

Biology

C. elegans is unsegmented, vermiform, bilaterally symmetrical, with a cuticle integument, four main epidermal cords and a fluid-filled pseudocoelomate cavity. Members of the species have many of the same organ systems as other animals. In the wild, they feed on bacteria that develop on decaying vegetable matter. C. elegans has both a hermaphrodite sex, and a very rare male population, which makes up 0.05% of the total C. elegans on average. The basic anatomy of C. elegans includes a mouth, pharynx, intestine, gonad, and collagenous cuticle. Males have a single-lobed gonad, vas deferens, and a tail specialized for mating. Hermaphrodites have two ovaries, oviducts, spermatheca, and a single uterus. Vermiform is an adjective meaning worm-like. ... The elaborate patterns on the wings of butterflies are one example of biological symmetry. ... Eponychium is the anatomical term for the human cuticle In biology, the term cuticle or cuticula is given to to a variety of tough but flexible, non-mineral outer coverings of an organism, or part of an organism, that provide prtoection. ... By the broadest definition, a body cavity is any fluid filled space in a multicellular organism. ... The 1st-century BC sculpture The Reclining Hermaphrodite, in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme in Rome A hermaphrodite is an organism that possesses both male and female sex organs during its life. ... The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. ... The vas deferens, also called ductus deferens, (Latin: carrying-away vessel) is part of the male anatomy of some species, including humans. ...


C. elegans eggs are laid by the hermaphrodite. After hatching, they pass through four larval stages (L1-L4). When crowded or in the absence of food, C. elegans can enter an alternative third larval stage called the dauer state. Dauer larvae are stress-resistant and do not age. Hermaphrodites produce all their sperm in the L4 stage (150 sperm per gonadal arm) and then switch over to producing oocytes. The sperm are stored in the same area of the gonad as the oocytes until the first oocyte pushes the sperm into the spermatheca (a kind of chamber where the oocytes become fertilized by the sperm).  [2]. The male can inseminate the hermaphrodite, which will use male sperm preferentially (both types of sperm are stored in the spermatheca). When self-inseminated the wild-type worm will lay approximately 300 eggs. When inseminated by a male, the number of progeny can exceed 1,000. At 20°C, the laboratory strain of C. elegans has an average life span of approximately 2–3 weeks and a generation time of approximately 4 days. Hermaphrodites can mate with males or self-fertilize. A larval insect A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians). ... Dauer is a German word meaning enduring and is used to describe an alternative developmental stage of nematodes, particularly C. elegans. ... Celsius is, or relates to, the Celsius temperature scale (previously known as the centigrade scale). ...


C. elegans has five pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. Sex in C. elegans is based on an X0 sex-determination system. Hermaphrodite C. elegans have a matched pair of sex chromosomes (XX); the rare males have only one sex chromosome (X0). An autosome is a non-sex chromosome. ... A sex-determination system is a biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism. ... The X0 sex-determination system is a system that grasshoppers, crickets, roaches, and some other insects use to determine the sex of their offspring. ...


C. elegans as a model organism

C. elegans is used as a model organism for a variety of reasons, including economy, and the ease of maintaining a population in the laboratory. Worms can be frozen and subsequently thawed and remain viable, thus ensuring easy long-term storage of different worm strains. Because the complete cell lineage of the species has been determined, C. elegans has proven especially useful for studying cellular differentiation. A model organism is a species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. ... Embryonic stem cells differentiate into cells in various body organs. ...


From a research perspective, C. elegans has the advantage of being a multicellular eukaryotic organism which is simple enough to be studied in great detail. The developmental fate of every single somatic cell (959 in the adult hermaphrodite; 1031 in the adult male) has been mapped out. These patterns of cell lineage are largely invariant between individuals, in contrast to mammals where cell development from the embryo is more largely dependent on cellular cues. In both sexes, a large number of additional cells (131 in the hermaphrodite, most of which would otherwise become neurons), are eliminated by programmed cell death (apoptosis). Multicellular organisms are those organisms containing more than one cell, and having differentiated cells that perform specialized functions. ... Kingdoms Animalia - Animals Fungi Plantae - Plants Protista Alternative phylogeny Unikonta Opisthokonta Amoebozoa Bikonta Apusozoa Cabozoa Rhizaria Excavata Corticata Archaeplastida Chromalveolata Animals, plants, fungi, and protists are eukaryotes (IPA: ), organisms whose cells are organized into complex structures by internal membranes and a cytoskeleton. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Neurons (also called nerve cells) are the primary cells of the nervous system. ... A section of mouse liver showing an apoptotic cell indicated by an arrow // Apoptosis is a process of deliberate life relinquishment by a cell in a multicellular organism. ...

Wild-type C. elegans hermaphrodite stained to highlight the nuclei of all cells
Wild-type C. elegans hermaphrodite stained to highlight the nuclei of all cells

In addition, C. elegans is one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system. In the hermaphrodite, this comprises 302 neurons whose pattern of connectivity has been completely mapped out, and shown to be a small-world network [3]. Research has explored the neural mechanisms responsible for several of the more interesting behaviors shown by C. elegans, including chemotaxis, thermotaxis, mechanotransduction, and male mating behavior. Interestingly, the neurons fire no action potentials. Download high resolution version (650x897, 45 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (650x897, 45 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... The Human Nervous System A human being coordinates its nervous system, the activity of the muscles, monitors the organs, constructs and also stops input from the senses, and initiates actions. ... Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of neurons in the pigeon cerebellum. ... In mathematics and physics, a small-world network is a class of random graphs where most nodes are also neighbors of one another, but every node can be reached from every other by a small number of hops or steps. ... Chemotaxis is a kind of taxis, in which bodily cells, bacteria, and other single-cell or multicellular organisms direct their movements according to certain chemicals in their environment. ... Thermotaxis is the phenomenon in which a cell directs its movement according to temperature. ... Mechanotransduction is the process by which cells convert mechanical stimulus into chemical acticity. ... A. A schematic view of an idealized action potential illustrates its various phases as the action potential passes a point on a cell membrane. ...


A useful feature of C. elegans is that it is relatively straightforward to disrupt the function of specific genes by RNA interference (RNAi). Silencing the function a gene in this way can sometimes allow a researcher to infer what the function of that gene may be. The nematode can either be soaked in (or injected with) a solution of double stranded RNA, the sequence of which is complentary to the sequence of the gene that the researcher wishes to disable. Alternatively, worms can be fed on genetically transformed bacteria which express the double stranded RNA of interest. Cells use dicer to trim double stranded RNA to form small interfering RNA or microRNA. An exogenous dsRNA or endogenous pre-miRNA can be processed by dicer and incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which targets single-stranded messenger RNA molecules and triggers translational repression;[1] incorporation into... Gene silencing is a general term describing epigenetic processes of gene regulation. ... Ribonucleic acid or RNA is a nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers that plays several important roles in the processes that translate genetic information from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) into protein products; RNA acts as a messenger between DNA and the protein synthesis complexes known as ribosomes, forms vital portions... Phyla Actinobacteria Aquificae Chlamydiae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Lentisphaerae Nitrospirae Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Verrucomicrobia Bacteria (singular: bacterium) are unicellular microorganisms. ... Gene expression, or simply expression, is the process by which a genes DNA sequence is converted into functional proteins. ...


C. elegans has also been useful in the study of meiosis. As sperm and egg nuclei move down the length of the gonad, they undergo a temporal progression through meiotic events. This progression means that every nuclei at a given position in the gonad will be at roughly the same step in meiosis, eliminating the difficulties of heterogeneous populations of cells. Not to be confused with miosis. ...


The organism has also been identified as a model for nicotine dependence as it has been found to experience the same symptoms humans experience when they quit smoking[4] Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae), predominantly in tobacco, and in lower quantities in tomato, potato, eggplant (aubergine), and green pepper. ... A No Smoking sign Smoking cessation (commonly known as quitting, or kicking the habit) is the effort to stop smoking tobacco products. ...


As for most model organisms, there is a dedicated online database for the species that is actively curated by scientists working in this field. The WormBase database attempts to collate all published information on C. elegans and other related nematodes. WormBase is an online bioinformatics database of the biology and genome of the model organism C. elegans and related nematodes. ...


The Genome

C. elegans was the first multicellular organism to have its genome completely sequenced. The finished genome sequence was published in 1998,[5] although a number of small gaps were present (the last gap was finished by October 2002). The C. elegans genome sequence is approximately 100 million base pairs long and contains approximately 20,000 genes. The vast majority of these genes encode for proteins but there are likely to be as many as 1,000 RNA genes. Scientific curators continue to appraise the set of known genes, such that new gene predictions continue to be added and incorrect ones modified or removed. In biology the genome of an organism is the whole hereditary information of an organism that is encoded in the DNA (or, for some viruses, RNA). ... In genetics and biochemistry, sequencing means to determine the primary structure (or primary sequence) of an unbranched biopolymer. ... Base pairs, of a DNA molecule. ... For a non-technical introduction to the topic, see Introduction to Genetics. ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... A non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is any RNA molecule that functions without being translated into a protein. ...


In 2003, the genome sequence of the related nematode C. briggsae was also determined, allowing researchers to study the comparative genomics of these two organisms [6]. Work is now ongoing to determine the genome sequences of more nematodes from the same genus such as C. remanei [1], C. japonica [2] and C. brenneri [3]. These newer genome sequences are being determined by using the whole genome shotgun technique which means that the resulting genome sequences are likely to not be as complete or accurate as C. elegans (which was sequenced using the 'hierarchical' or clone-by-clone appoach). Caenorhabditis briggsae is a closely related species to Caenorhabditis elegans. ... For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation). ... Shotgun sequencing is a method used in genetics for sequencing long DNA strands. ... Molecular cloning refers to the procedure of isolating a defined DNA sequence and obtaining multiple copies of it in vivo. ...


The official version of the C. elegans genome sequence continues to change as and when new evidence reveals errors in the original sequencing (DNA sequencing is not an error free process). Most changes are usually minor, adding or removing only a few base pairs (bp) of DNA. 69 fuckyea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! E.g. the WS169 release of WormBase (December 2006) lists a net gain of 6 bp to the genome sequence [7]. Occasionally more extensive changes are made, e.g. the WS159 release of May 2006 added over 300 bp to the sequence [8]. The term DNA sequencing encompasses biochemical methods for determining the order of the nucleotide bases, adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine, in a DNA oligonucleotide. ... Base pairs, of a DNA molecule. ...


Nematode evolution

It has been shown that a small number of conserved protein sequences from sponges are more similar to humans than to C. elegans [9]. This suggests that there has been an accelerated rate of evolution in the C. elegans lineage. The same study found that several phylogenetically ancient genes are not present in C. elegans. A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... Classes Calcarea Hexactinellida Demospongiae The sponges or poriferans (from Latin porus pore and ferre to bear) are animals of the phylum Porifera. ... An evolutionary lineage (also called a clade) is composed of species, taxa, or individuals that are related by descent from a common ancestor. ... In biology, phylogenetics (Greek: phylon = tribe, race and genetikos = relative to birth, from genesis = birth) is the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms (e. ...


C. elegans scientists

In 2002, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz and John Sulston for their work on the genetics of organ development and programmed cell death (PCD) in C. elegans. The 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Andrew Fire and Craig C. Mello, for their discovery of RNA interference in C. elegans.[10] List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to the present day. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... H. Robert Horvitz is an American biologist best known for his research on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. ... John E. Sulston received his degree as a chemist at Cambridge, UK, but devoted his scientific life to biological research, especially in the field of molecular biology. ... A section of mouse liver showing an apoptotic cell indicated by an arrow // Apoptosis is a process of deliberate life relinquishment by a cell in a multicellular organism. ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to the present day. ... Andrew Z. Fire Andrew Zachary Fire (born on April 27th 1959) is an American professor of pathology and of genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. ... Craig C. Mello Craig Cameron Mello (born October 19, 1960 in Worcester, Massachusetts), is one of the laureates of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Andrew Z. Fire, for the discovery of RNA interference. ... Cells use dicer to trim double stranded RNA to form small interfering RNA or microRNA. An exogenous dsRNA or endogenous pre-miRNA can be processed by dicer and incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which targets single-stranded messenger RNA molecules and triggers translational repression;[1] incorporation into...


Because all research into C. elegans essentially started with Sydney Brenner in the 1970's, many scientists working in this field share a close connection to Brenner (they either worked as a post-doctoral or post-graduate researcher in Brenner's lab or in the lab of someone who previously worked with Brenner). Because most people who worked in his lab went on to establish their own worm research labs, there is now a fairly well documented 'lineage' of C. elegans scientists. This lineage was recorded in some detail at the 2003 International Worm Meeting and the results were stored in the Wormbase database. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A postdoctoral (colloquially, post-doc) appointment is a usually temporary academic job held by a person who has completed his or her doctoral studies. ... Degree ceremony at Cambridge. ... WormBase is an online bioinformatics database of the biology and genome of the model organism C. elegans and related nematodes. ...


C. elegans in the media

C. elegans made news when it was discovered that specimens had survived the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003.[11] The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earths atmosphere, shortly before concluding its 28th mission, STS-107. ...


References

  1. ^ Brenner, S. (1974). The Genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 77: 71–94. 
  2. ^ Nayak, S., J. Goree & T. Schedl (2004). fog-2 and the Evolution of Self-Fertile Hermaphroditism in Caenorhabditis. PLoS Biology 3 (1): e6. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030006. 
  3. ^ Watts D. J. & S. H. Strogatz (1998). Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks. Nature 393 (6684): 440–442. 
  4. ^ Feng et al. (2006). A C. elegans Model of Nicotine-Dependent Behavior: Regulation by TRP-Family Channels. Cell 127: 621-633. 
  5. ^ The C. elegans Sequencing Consortium (1998). Genome sequence of the nematode C. elegans: a platform for investigating biology. Science 282: 2012–2018. 
  6. ^ Stein, L. D. et al. (2003). The Genome Sequence of Caenorhabditis briggsae: A Platform for Comparative Genomics. PLoS Biology 1: 166–192. 
  7. ^ WormBaseWiki WS169 release notes. Wormbase. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.
  8. ^ WormBaseWiki WS159 release notes. Wormbase. Retrieved on 2007-01-21.
  9. ^ Gamulin, V (December 2000). "Sponge proteins are more similar to those of Homo sapiens than to Caenorhabditis elegans". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 71 (4): 821-828. 
  10. ^ A. Fire, S.Q. Xu, M.K. Montgomery, S.A. Kostas, S. E. Driver, C.C. Mello: Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans. In: Nature. 391/1998, S. 806-811, ISSN 0028-0836
  11. ^ "Worms survived Columbia disaster", BBC News, 2003-05-01. 

Pork and beans (not to be confused with the Journal of Genetics) is a yearly scientific journal publishing investigations bearing on heredity and variation. ... PLoS Biology is a scientific journal covering the full spectrum of the biological sciences it began operation on October 13, 2003. ... Nature is one of the most prominent scientific journals, first published on 4 November 1869. ... Cell is a bi-monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal which publishes novel research in any area of experimental biology that is significant outside its field. ... Science is the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ... PLoS Biology is a scientific journal covering the full spectrum of the biological sciences it began operation on October 13, 2003. ... WormBase is an online bioinformatics database of the biology and genome of the model organism C. elegans and related nematodes. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 52nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... WormBase is an online bioinformatics database of the biology and genome of the model organism C. elegans and related nematodes. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 21st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... BBC News is the department within the BBC responsible for the corporations news-gathering and production of news programmes on BBC television, radio and online. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Relevant publications

  • Bird, A. F & J. Bird (1991). The Structure of Nematodes. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, pp 1, 69–70, 152–153, 165, 224–225. 
  • Gamulin, Vera; Müller, Isabel M. & Müller, Werner E. G. (2000): Sponge proteins are more similar to those of Homo sapiens than to Caenorhabditis elegans. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 71(4): 821–828. HTML abstract
  • Riddle, D.L., T. Blumenthal, R. J. Meyer & J. R. Priess (1997). C. elegans II. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York, pp 1-4, 679–683. 

Academic Press (London, New York and San Diego) was an academic book publisher that is now part of Elsevier. ... The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society is a scientific journal published by The Linnean Society of London. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ...

Online resources

  • WormBase - an extensive online database covering the biology and genomics of C. elegans and other nematodes
  • WormBook - a free online compendium of all aspects of C. elegans biology, including laboratory protocols
  • Wormatlas - an online database for behavioral and structural anatomy of C. elegans
  • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute C. elegans page - half of the genome sequence is still maintained by this institute
  • WashU Genome Sequencing Center C. elegans page - the institute maintaining the other half of the genome
  • AceView WormGenes - another genome database for C. elegans, maintained at the NCBI
  • Worm Classroom - An education portal for C. elegans
  • Textpresso - WormBase search engine
  • C. elegans movies - Timelapse films made by C. elegans researchers worldwide
  • C. elegans II - a free online textbook.
  • Silencing Genomes RNA interference (RNAi) experiments and bioinformatics in C. elegans for education. From the Dolan DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Nobel lectures

External links

  • Nematodes With a Craving for Nicotine
Major Model Organisms in Genetic Studies
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Caenorhabditis elegans - definition of Caenorhabditis elegans in Encyclopedia (764 words)
elegans) is a free-living nematode (a roundworm), about 1 mm in length, which lives in a temperate soil environment.
elegans is vermiform, bilateral in symmetry, with a cuticle integument, no segmentations, with four main epidermal cords and a fluid-filled pseudocoelomate cavity.
elegans has the advantage of being a multicellular eukaryotic organism which is simple enough to be studied in great detail.
Caenorhabditis elegans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (759 words)
Caenorhabditis elegans (pronounced see-no-rab-DYE-tis) is a free-living nematode (one of the roundworms), about 1 mm in length, which lives in a temperate soil environment.
elegans is vermiform, bilaterally symmetric, with a cuticle integument, no segmentations, with four main epidermal cords and a fluid-filled pseudocoelomate cavity.
In both sexes, a large number of additional cells (131 in the hermaphrodite, most of which would otherwise become neurons), are eliminated by programmed cell death (apoptosis).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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