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Trends Biotechnol. 1996 Apr;14(4):125-9.

Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans strains as biosensors.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Toxicity bioassays rely largely on lethality measurements. Such assays are generally lengthy and expensive, and provide little information on mechanisms of toxicity. A desire to understand the mechanisms by which cells respond to physical and chemical stresses has led to interest in measuring stress proteins as toxicological endpoints. Transgenic strains of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that carry a reporter enzyme under control of a stress-inducible promoter have been created. The reporter is easily quantified in intact nematodes, and it responds to a wide range of chemical stressors. Therefore, transgenic C. elegans can provide the basis for a wide range of quick, simple and informative bioassays.

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