Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Decoding C. Elegans Worm: A Remarkable Discovery


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: C. Elegans Worm

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Researchers at Princeton University found that Caenorhabditis elegans can inherit the ‘knowledge’ to avoid a disease-causing bacterium, Pseudomonas vranovensis, across several generations after initially consuming it.

C. Elegans: Breakthrough made in Scientific Research

  • C. elegans can inherit the ‘knowledge’ to avoid a disease-causing bacterium, Pseudomonas vranovensis, across several generations after by consuming it.
  • The study revealed that the worms ingested small RNA (sRNA) molecules from P. vranovensis, which then altered their feeding behaviour to avoid the bacteria.
  • This sRNA interacts with the worm’s gene maco-1, affecting its neurological functions.
  • These sRNAs are passed down to at least four subsequent generations, demonstrating a form of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.


About C. Elegans Worm

  • C. elegans, or Caenorhabditis elegans, is a small, transparent nematode (roundworm) widely used in scientific research.
  • It is about 1 mm in length, making it easy to study under a microscope.
  • It has a simple body plan, which simplifies many types of biological research.
  • C. elegans was the first multicellular organism to have its entire genome sequenced in 1998.

Key Features of C. Elegans Worm

  • Short lifespan and quick regeneration: It has a short lifespan of about 2-3 weeks and develops from an egg to an adult in just 3-5 days. This allows for quick generation turnover and facilitates studies on genetics and developmental biology.
  • Transparency:  It allows researchers to easily observe its internal structures and developmental processes in real time.
  • Genetic information: This has provided a wealth of genetic information and made it a powerful tool for genetic studies.
  • Consistent Somatic Cell Count: Adult C. elegans have exactly 959 somatic cells, and their lineage has been fully mapped, providing a consistent model for studying cell development and death.


[2021] Consider the following:​

1. Bacteria​

2. Fungi​

3. Virus​

Which of the above can be cultured in artificial/synthetic medium?​

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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