C. elegans is a free-living nematode. It is small—growing to about 1 mm in length—and lives in the soil (especially in rotting vegetation) where it survives by feeding on microbes such as bacteria. Students design, conduct, and analyze a controlled experiment testing the effects of alcohol on the roundworm C. elegans.
Chemotaxis using C. elegans is referenced in this lesson which is an excellent follow-up to the Chemotaxis lesson.
This 9-minute video shows the life cycle and reproduction of C. elegans in graphical representations as well as footage of the worms under a microscope. The presentation is split into 6 sections and you can jump directly to the section you're interested in. Check it out: C. elegans Development and Reproduction
For culturing C. elegans, see Laboratory 2 and 3 at www.silencinggenomes.org
This lesson is one of several BrainU lesson plans adapted for inclusion 2011-2012 Curriculum Materials for the 2011 Nobel Conference on The Brain and Being Human.
We recommend the card game activity found in the NIH lesson entitled The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology from the Study of Addiction. You may download Lesson 4 (the activity is on pages 87-92).
C. elegans is the subject of an exciting Kickstarter-funded project to create an accurate, open-source digital clone that can be used in research. Read the May 24, 2014 Computer Worms article in The Economist.