Chuang Lab

  • Caenorhabditis elegans

    A Model System: C. elegans Profile

    • Small, cute, well behaved, ~1 mm long from head to tail.
    • Free-living, nonparasitic soil nematode that can be safely used in the laboratory.
    • Feeds on bacteria, such as HB101 and OP50.
    • Brood size: A hermaphrodite can produce about 300-350 offspring under self-fertilization and more if it mates with males.
    • Can be easily and cheaply cultivated in large numbers on agar plates containing bacteria lawn, ~10,000 worms / 6cm petri dish.
    • Rapid life cycle, 3 days at 20 degrees Celsius from eggs -> L1-L4 -> adults -> eggs.
    • Life span: 2-3 weeks.
    • Sequenced genome, ~19,000 genes.
    • Complete cell lineages with constant cell position and cell number, so it is possible to know which cell is derived from which. 
    • Starved worms can stay as dauers, a developmentally arrested stage, for months, and recover quickly upon re-feeding.
    • Can be frozen in freezing solution at -80 degrees Celsius or LN2 for long-term storage.
    • Powerful forward genetic (EMS mutagenesis), reverse genetic (RNAi) and molecular tools.
    • Transparent cuticle makes it very easy to do live imaging.
    • Easy to make transgenic animals by injecting DNA or dsRNA into syncytial gonads. Please visit to learn more about worm microinjection.
    • Please visit to learn more about the biology, methods and protocols of C. elegans.