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WormBook. 2005 Dec 26:1-19.

Natural variation and population genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS-Universities of Paris, 75251 Paris cedex 05, France.


C. elegans presents a low level of molecular diversity, which may be explained by its selfing mode of reproduction. Recent work on the genetic structure of natural populations of C. elegans indeed suggests a low level of outcrossing, and little geographic differentiation because of migration. The level and pattern of molecular diversity among wild isolates of C. elegans are compared with those found after accumulation of spontaneous mutations in the laboratory. The last part of the chapter reviews phenotypic differences among wild isolates of C. elegans.

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