The nematode C. elegans has become one of the most versatile and exciting model organisms in modern biomedical research. It is used in research fields such as neurodegeneration, genetics, aging, development, and toxicology.
The main benefits of using C. elegans as a model organism are:
- inexpensive and easy maintenance and culturing
- rapid life cycle (3.5 days from the fertilized egg to fertile adult state at 20° C), short life span of approximately three to four weeks
- hermaphrodite lifestyle
- the availability of forward and reverse genetic approaches
- knowledge of the complete cell lineage
- the simplicity of its nervous system (302 neurons, whose precise position, cell lineage, synaptic connectivity and wiring are known) and
- its fully sequenced genome
- the small size and transparency of the worm at all life-cycle stages makes it ideal for microscopy-based analysis
With respect to neuropharmacology, C. elegans express many of the neurotransmitters and associated receptors that are found in higher eukaryotes. These include dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, glutamate and serotonin. In addition, over 100 neuropeptide genes encoding over 250 distinct neuropeptides have been identified in C. elegans so far, among them 40 genes encoding insulin-like peptides. Many of the neurons that express specific neurotransmitters have been identified.
A number of quantitative parameters have been proposed for in vivo assays using C. elegans as a model organism, including growth, size, progeny production, appearance, feeding behavior, locomotion, and mortality. These endpoints reflect different levels of complexity and, thus, should be considered mutually complementary rather than mutually competitive.
C. elegans offers the promise of understanding the mechanisms underlying a whole animal's behavior at the molecular and cellular levels. This is due to the worms’ small and well-characterized nervous system, and amenability to genetic manipulation. In other words, the nervous system of C. elegans provides a unique opportunity to understand how behavior emerges from activity in the nervous system of an organism. This in turn implies that quantitative analysis of locomotion and other behavior of freely moving worms are among the most complex but also the most comprehensive endpoints.
WormLab is a software for imaging, tracking, and analyzing C. elegans and other worms. It has a user-friendly software interface with a powerful model-specific tracking algorithm that collects data about a single worm or multiple worms, even through omega bends, reversals, and entanglements. The algorithm analyzes virtually any video file type, including .avi, .wmv, and .mp4.
It offers a wide variety of accurate analyses about a single or multiple worms, a user-friendly interface with a workflow, and comes with MBF’s technical and research support.
The WormLab Imaging System is a complete, scalable solution for automated imaging and quantitative analysis of the behavior of C. elegans and other nematodes. We worked closely with world leading C. elegans researchers to develop a unique worm tracking system that is intuitive and easy to use so you spend less time on set-up and maintenance and more time focused on your research. It works in conjunction with WormLab software so you can correlate C. elegans locomotory behavior with the delivery of tapping or light stimuli.
How WormLab Works and How It Generates Analyses
Please see the below presentation for details about how WormLab tracks and analyzes C. elegans
When you call us you will speak with a person - not an automated system. Talk to us about your hardware, software, or experimental design questions. Our team includes Ph.D. neuroscientists and experts in microscopy, stereology, neuron tracing, and image processing; ready to help you over the phone or online.