You know cells. You know mice. So, why worms?
The free-living nematode C. elegans has been a favourite model organism of discerning academics for decades. It can help de-risk your move from cells to mice with confidence.
- Whole-organism model without the complexity of mammals
- High gene conservation and amenability to transgenic techniques
- Small organism with a short lifecycle for speed and cost efficiency
More complex than a cell, less complex than a mouse
- Whole organism with nervous system, 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
With all those advantages, why is C. elegans not more widely used by pharma and academia?
Well, good assays need expert scientists. C. elegans can’t be used for everything but we can advise at what stage in your research process they can be best used. Furthermore we have the technical expertise to make sure your experiments are reproducible and robust. For example, 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.