HomeFunctional AnalysisWhy C. elegans?

Nobel prize laureate Sydney Brenner once said that C. elegans is ‘nature’s gift to science and ‘without doubt, the fourth winner of the Nobel prize [in 2002] is Caenorhabditis elegans‘. He introduced C. elegans as the organism of choice for studying “How genes might specify the complex structures found in higher organisms”. Read the lecture script. 

The nematode C. elegans, the first animal species whose genome was completely sequenced is a simple yet powerful model organism. It provides advantages such as a transparent body, easy genetic manipulation, exquisitely defined nervous system, well-understood genetics, and a short lifespan. It turns out that C. elegans phenotypes are directly related to the underlying genotype, and can give new information about the function of human disease genes and clinical variants.

C. elegans homologs have been identified for up to 80% of human genes. The striking genetic homologies between the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and humans make it a powerful experimental model for investigating many high-impact diseases and medical conditions such as aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiac arrhythmia as well for understanding biological functions.

More on why C. elegans:

Key publications:

C. elegans as a model organism:



Learn more about C. elegans and Neuroscience



Signaling pathways:

Other Resources:


WormBase is an international consortium of biologists and computer scientists dedicated to providing the research community with accurate, current, accessible information concerning the genetics, genomics, and biology of C. elegans and related nematodes. Founded in 2000, the WormBase Consortium is led by Paul Sternberg of CalTech, Paul Kersey of the EBI, Matt Berriman of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and Lincoln Stein of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

NIH Grant For Developing Animal Models 

You can apply for Development of Animal Models and Related Biological Materials for Research (R21) grants.


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