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From Odors to Behaviors in Caenorhabditis elegans.


Hart AC, Chao MY.


In: Menini A, editor.


The Neurobiology of Olfaction. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010. Chapter 1.
Frontiers in Neuroscience.


Over 30 years ago, Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner recognized that an intellectually straightforward strategy to delineate the basic principles in neurobiology is to utilize a model organism with a nervous system that is simple enough to lend itself to anatomical, cellular, genetic, and molecular analysis, yet be complex enough that lessons learned in that organism would give us insight into general principles of neural function. The humble organism he chose, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, is now one of the most thoroughly characterized metazoans, particularly in terms of its nervous system. One of Brenner’s motivations in adapting C. elegans as a model organism was to understand the totality of the molecular and cellular basis for the control of animal behavior (Brener 1988). In this chapter, we review what is arguably the best-studied aspect of C. elegans behavior: response to chemical stimuli. The C. elegans neurobiology literature can be intimidating for the uninitiated; we attempt to limit the use of “worm jargon” in this review. For a more C. elegans-centric review, we refer you to other excellent sources (Bargmann 2006).

Copyright © 2010 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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