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Trends Genet. 2015 May;31(5):224-31. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Mar 21.

The laboratory domestication of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands; Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
2
Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
3
Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: jan.kammenga@wur.nl.
4
Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA. Electronic address: erik.andersen@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Model organisms are of great importance to our understanding of basic biology and to making advances in biomedical research. However, the influence of laboratory cultivation on these organisms is underappreciated, and especially how that environment can affect research outcomes. Recent experiments led to insights into how the widely used laboratory reference strain of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans compares with natural strains. Here we describe potential selective pressures that led to the fixation of laboratory-derived alleles for the genes npr-1, glb-5, and nath-10. These alleles influence a large number of traits, resulting in behaviors that affect experimental interpretations. Furthermore, strong phenotypic effects caused by these laboratory-derived alleles hinder the discovery of natural alleles. We highlight strategies to reduce the influence of laboratory-derived alleles and to harness the full power of C. elegans.

KEYWORDS:

Caenorhabditis elegans; aerotaxis; laboratory derived; npr-1; selection

PMID:
25804345
PMCID:
PMC4417040
DOI:
10.1016/j.tig.2015.02.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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