What is C. elegans worm?

Caenorhabditis elegans (/ˌsiːnoʊræbˈdaɪtəs ˈɛləɡæns/) is a free-living transparent nematode about 1 mm in length that lives in temperate soil environments. It is the type species of its genus. The name is a blend of the Greek caeno- (recent), rhabditis (rod-like) and Latin elegans (elegant).

What is so special about the worm C. elegans?

elegans is a very small organism so is convenient to keep in the lab. The worm is transparent throughout its life so the behaviour of individual cells can be followed through its development. The anatomy and development of C. elegans can be examined easily under a microscope.

Why is nematode species C. elegans so famous?

Because of evolutionary conservation of gene function and experimental tractability, C. elegans represents an ideal “model organism” to study basic genetic and molecular mechanisms of human development and disease.

Why C. elegans is a good model system?

C. elegans is a nematode worm and is significantly anatomically simpler than a human, however, it does share many similarities at the molecular level making it a good candidate for a model organism.

What can we learn about human disease from the nematode C. elegans?

Roughly 30–60% of genes in C. elegans have orthologs or strong homologs in mammals [13,14], suggesting that what is discovered about gene function in these small nematodes may be directly applicable to human development and disease.

What are the advantages of using C. elegans as a model organism?

While not as sophisticated as a mammalian model, using C. elegans as a model organism has advantages including having all the physiological properties of an animal, the ability to replicate human diseases and a fast life cycle.

Where do C. elegans live in nature?

Caenorhabditis elegans are terrestrial organisms. They live primarily in soil (Lee & Atkinson 1977). The soil must have a constant level of moisture, so that the worm can move in the film of water and draw water from the soil. The soil must also have a moderate oxygen content.

Why is C. elegans considered a good model organism in Ageing research?

C. elegans grown in large numbers, can be easily screened for effects of novel drugs on complex processes involved in human disease. C. elegans is particularly useful the study of ageing processes because the organism passes through several distinct phases of life which can be observed physiologically and genetically.