Why Worms?

 

With C. elegans, transition your research from cells to mouse with confidence.

 

You know cells. You know mice. But worms? 

 

Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living nematode worm roughly 1 mm long. It has been a favourite model organism of discerning academics for decades and, when taking a closer look, it’s easy to see why:

 

 More complex than a cell, less complex than a mouse: 

  • Whole organism with CNS, muscle, intestine and reproductive system
  • Less space, larger populations and faster experiments than mice
  • No regulatory restrictions
  • Transparent body for easy live visualisation of eg. GFP-tagged targets
  • Reduces unnecessary mammalian testing by prescreening in worms

 

High gene conservation and amenability to modification:

  • Many C. elegans genes have human orthologs, for relevant disease models
  • Compatible with targeted and random genetic modification for target identification
  • Transgenic expression for models of human inherited diseases 
  • Existing mutant and transgenic strains available for research
  • Track record of relevance to disease e. g. ageing, neurodegeneration, cancer, metabolism

 

Fast, natural ageing model:

  • 2-3 weeks lifespan and slows down within a week of adulthood
  • Test interventions on natural ageing rather than models of accelerated ageing

 

Short lifecycle for Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity (DART) studies: 

  • Used as indicator species for pesticide toxicity
  • 300 progeny per self-fertilising hermaphrodite worm in 3 days
  • Additional long-term toxicity using ageing adult mobility scoring
  • Good concordance for known toxicity in mammalian models 

Can C. elegans be used in your research area? Check it out in our Research Services page.

 

With all those advantages, why is C. elegans not more widely used by pharma and academia? 

Well, good assays need expert scientists. Because of their rapid developmental dynamics, C. elegans larvae have to be selected for testing at exactly the right time in their life cycle, to limit data variability between individuals. Picking worms is done manually and learning how to do it accurately and reproducibly takes time. Similarly, the finer details of assay protocols vary greatly between labs, so objectivity and standardisation of data acquisition and analysis is an issue.

 

At Magnitude Biosciences we have addressed those challenges by embracing automation and careful process control.

 

Together with using fully defined growth medium and a consistent schedule for larvae selection, this level of standardisation has allowed us to improve data reproducibility within and between replicates and gives unprecedented access to a large range of health-relevant mobility endpoints. 

Want to know more? Read on to our Revolutionary Technology page.