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PLoS Biol. 2007 Sep;5(9):e237.

High-throughput in vivo analysis of gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Using DNA sequences 5' to open reading frames, we have constructed green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions and generated spatial and temporal tissue expression profiles for 1,886 specific genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This effort encompasses about 10% of all genes identified in this organism. GFP-expressing wild-type animals were analyzed at each stage of development from embryo to adult. We have identified 5' DNA regions regulating expression at all developmental stages and in 38 different cell and tissue types in this organism. Among the regulatory regions identified are sequences that regulate expression in all cells, in specific tissues, in combinations of tissues, and in single cells. Most of the genes we have examined in C. elegans have human orthologs. All the images and expression pattern data generated by this project are available at WormAtlas ( and through WormBase (

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