Why study C.elegans?

Each year, scientist world wide are experimenting with C.elegans. C.elegans are a primitive an organism that possesses many of the essential biological characteristics associated with humans.  So what does this mean in laymen’s terms? Basically C. elegans possess the least number of biological entities and by studying them we can use them as a basis for understanding our system. Think of these worms as a how to guide for dummies.

C.elegans are a single cell organism that has a unique process of developing into adult stage.  They start this process with embryonic cleavage stage, and then proceed through morphogenesis to the adult stage.Like humans, C elegans nervous system is controlled with a ‘brain’ called the circumpharyngeal nerve ring.  The nerve ring exhibits brain like behavior-capable of learning rudimentary things.Adult C.elegans produce sperm and eggs. Their development, nerve function, behavior and how they age, are determined by their genes: C. elegans are only 1 mm long and is usually grown on Petri plates seeded with E.coli bacteria.  However, all 959 somatic cells of the C.elegans are visible with a microscope. Average life span of C.elegan is a mere 2-3 weeks. After reproduction they slowly age, losing vigor and tha die. All in all, C. elegans provides the researcher around the world  with “complexity and tractability”.