Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode (roundworm), about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments.
In the quest to understand how the brain turns sensory input into behavior, Harvard scientists have crossed a major threshold. Using precisely-targeted lasers, researchers have been able to take over an animal's brain, instruct it to turn in any direction they choose, and even to implant false sensory information, fooling the animal into thinking food was nearby.
At any given moment, millions of cells are on the move in the human body, typically on their way to aid in immune response, make repairs, or provide some other benefit to the structures around them. When the migration process goes wrong, however, the results can include tumor formation and metastatic cancer. Little has been known about how cell migration actually works, but now, with the help of some tiny worms, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have gained new insight into this highly complex task.
Research into the genetic factors behind certain disease mechanisms, illness progression and response to new drugs is frequently carried out using tiny multi-cellular animals such as nematodes, fruit flies or zebra fish.
Through novel experiments involving small nematode worms, scientists from Wyoming have discovered several genes that may be potential targets for drug development in the ongoing war against cancer. Specifically, researchers hypothesize that inhibiting these genes could reverse certain key traits associated with cancer cells.
The effect of spaceflight on a microscopic worm - Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) - could help it to live longer.
A new spin to our understanding of the relationship between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, which could point to a therapeutic target for both diseases, is published in a research report in the June 2012 issue of the journal Genetics.
In recent years it became clear that people with diabetes face an ominous prospect - a far greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Now researchers at The City College of New York (CCNY) have shed light on one reason why. Biology Professor Chris Li and her colleagues have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between the two diseases.
Ten young researchers were named Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. For these scientists, who have dedicated their careers to finding solutions for some of the world's most troubling health problems, this fellowship will provide support that will further their research, enable them to work with colleagues in the United States, and increase scientific knowledge throughout their home region.
Certain proteins, such as 14-3-3, conserve their basic functions of cell cycle control in diverse organisms, from worms to humans. In a study led by Juli-n Cer-n and Sim- Schwartz Jr, researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Research Institute of Vall d'Hebron (VHIR) respectively, have described germ line functions of par-5, which is one of the two 14-3-3 proteins existing in Caenorhabditis elegans, worms used as experimental model in genetic studies.
Minuscule amounts of ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, can more than double the life span of a tiny worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans, which is used frequently as a model in aging studies, UCLA biochemists report. The scientists said they find their discovery difficult to explain.
Turning off a protein that helps cells balance energy increases animal mobility and reduces the death of nerve cells that control movement in animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study in the January 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings may one day guide new directions for the treatment of the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, for which there is currently no cure.
Scientists have long seen evidence of social behavior among many species of animals, both on the earth and in the sea. Dolphins frolic together, lions live in packs, and hornets construct nests that can house a large number of the insects. And, right under our feet, it appears that nematodes-also known as roundworms-are having their own little gatherings in the soil. Until recently, it was unknown how the worms communicate to one another when it's time to come together.
Jena`s Leibniz Institute for Age Research - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) and Berlin`s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) from Germany are jointly starting a project for ageing research in 2012.
The vast majority of genetic disorders (schizophrenia or breast cancer, for example) have different effects in different people. Moreover, an individual carrying certain mutations can develop a disease, whereas another one with the same mutations may not. This holds true even when comparing two identical twins who have identical genomes. But why does the same mutation have different effects in different individuals?
Compared to most other cells in an organism, sperm undergo a radical transformation to become compact and mobile delivery systems for paternal DNA. Even though sperm looks and moves quite differently across species, SF State researcher Diana Chu and colleagues now say that there are at least a few key enzymes that are critical for sperm development and mobility in species as different as mice and nematode worms.
Using new optical equipment, a team of 11 researchers put roundworms into a world of virtual reality, monitored both their behavior and brain activity and gained unexpected information on how the organism's brain operates as it moves.
Scientists at Northwestern University report a surprising discovery that offers a possible new route for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that a genetic switch in master neurons inhibits the proper functioning of protective cell stress responses, leading to the accumulation of misfolded and damaged proteins.
Body cells detect signals that control their behavior through tiny hairs on the cell surface called cilia. Serious diseases and disorders can result when these cilia do not work properly.
A space flight by millions of microscopic worms could help us overcome the numerous threats posed to human health by space travel. The Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) have also given experts an insight into how to block muscle degradation in the sick and elderly.
Chemotherapeutic agents, used in cancer treatment, destroy not only cancer cells but also healthy cells, thus affecting germ cells as well. Consequently, after surviving cancer many female patients are confronted with the diagnosis: infertility. For a long time a relationship between infertility and chemotherapeutic agents has been assumed, but until now, the exact mechanism was not known.