Roundworm (C. elegans)
The microscopic roundworm, C. elegans, is an excellent model for understanding how cells divide, develop, and take on specialized tasks in higher (eukaryotic) organisms.
C. elegans is a microscopic roundworm. Although some roundworms are parasitic, C. elegans is free-living. Like E. coli, these worms grow quickly �€“ from embryo to adult in three days �€“ are easy to culture, and can be stored in a freezer. C. elegans is a simple animal with only about 1,000 cells, and scientists know exactly how each of these cells develops from the fertilized egg. C. elegans was the first multi-cellular organism to have its entire genome sequenced, with the surprising finding that 40% of its genes have human matches. Any of the organism�€™s genes can be �€œknocked down�€� using the technique of RNA interference (RNAi). Mating animals, isolating genes, and introducing foreign DNA is much easier than in more complicated animals. All of these features make C. elegans a great model for understanding how cells divide, develop, and take on specialized tasks in higher (eukaryotic) organisms.
roundworm, worms, c elegans, cellular organism, eukaryotic organisms, model, systems, organisms
- ID: 1711
- Source: DNALC.G2C
Model organisms share with humans many key biochemical and physiological functions that have been conserved (maintained) by evolution.
Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner talks about the reasons why C. elegans, a nematode worm, is a useful organism to study.
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Bob Horvitz and Mike Hengartner used C. elegans to work out the mechanism of programmed cell death.
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