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Caenorhabditis elegans

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Caenorhabditis elegans

Post by admin @ shivam on Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:07 pm

Caenorhabditis elegans is a microscopic (~1 mm) nematode (roundworm) that normally lives in soil. It has become one of the "model" organisms in biology because:

* It is a true animal with at least rudiments of the physiological systems - feeding, nervous, muscle, reproductive - found in "higher" animals like mice and humans.
* But it is so small that large numbers can be raised in petri dishes (where it is fed E. coli - another model organism).
* It reproduces rapidly.
* It is transparent so that every cell in the living animal can be seen under the microscope from the fertilized egg to the
o 556 cells of the newly-hatched worm and, later,
o the 959 somatic cells, and a variable number of germ cells, of the adult worm.
* It can be easily transformed with transgenes - DNA injected into the animal.
* It can also be treated with antisense RNA.
* Before it dies (after 2-3 weeks), it shows signs of aging and thus may provide general clues as to the aging process.


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