C. elegans is the answer to the need for a fast and ethical animal model for toxicology research
Traditionally, Developmental And Reproductive Toxicity (DART) tests are performed late in the product development because they are expensive and time-consuming. However, if DART tests were performed much earlier in the development of the product, companies could avoid substantial losses and save time and money. But to do so, there’s a need for a fast and cost-effective animal model.
This scheme represents the life cycle of C. elegans across three different generations. We make use of C. elegans quick lifespan to measure different types of toxicity, including DART, in whole animals in 5 days.
C. elegans can provide multiple toxicology endpoints in a matter of days
Our assays start when the worms are in the last larval stage before adulthood (L4). We expose them to the compounds and determine acute toxicity based on the changes we observe in those animals.
Once the adults lay the eggs (~300 eggs per worm), we are able to see reproductive toxicity based on several parameters such as progeny onset time or defects in the laid eggs.
Moving on, as the eggs hatch, the 1st generation of worms begin the transition from L1 to adults. In a matter of three days from hatching, the worms will lay the eggs that constitute the 2nd generation. Thanks to C. elegans quick life cycle, we are able to test developmental toxicity and reproductive across multiple generations in just a week.
The need for lower-cost, more rapid and less mammal-intensive studies to help screen potential new products is on the rise, and as of today, C. elegans is the most suitable animal to perform these studies.