Navigation Links
To swim or to crawl: For the worm it's a no brainer
Date:3/31/2009

A study at the University of Leeds has shown, for the first time, that C. elegans worms crawl and swim using the same gait, overturning the widely accepted belief that these two behaviours are completely different.

The findings have important implications for biologists and geneticists using C. elegans for their research. Until recently scientists have largely limited their observations of the worm to crawling on solids, but this discovery suggests that it is just as important to consider a range of environments when studying the behaviour of the worm.

Lead researcher Dr Netta Cohen, Reader in the School of Computing, says: "Our discovery suggests that it's important to study the function of the worm's nervous system in a range of environments, where the mode of operation of the nervous system and the specific role of individual genes may be more apparent."

C. elegans, a tiny free-living worm, was the very first animal species to be completely genetically sequenced and operates with many of the same genes that are found in human beings. It is used by scientists as a model system to gain a fundamental understanding of the basic principles of life.

C. elegans is so simple it doesn't have a brain, only a minimal nervous system of 302 nerve cells (as opposed to the 100 billion or so in the human brain). This 1mm long worm exhibits a wide range of behaviour, including foraging, learning, memory and even social behaviour. Scientists are fascinated with this tiny worm, anticipating that this will be the first animal species to be completely understood.

In its natural habitat, C. elegans can encounter a range of environments where its motion can be quite varied - from muddy water and moist surfaces in dry ground to the centre of rotten fruit, where it will find a plentiful supply of food. The worm's swimming and crawling observed in different environments look so distinct, there's a long-held consensus that these are separate gaits as with horses, where galloping and trotting are entirely different motions.

Using a combination of experimental laboratory work and computer simulations, the research team has shown that swimming, crawling - and everything in between - represents one locomotion gait that is generated and controlled with a single underlying nervous system mechanism.

Dr Cohen says: "We raised the question of how such a minimal nervous system can exhibit different behaviours and instantly switch between them. Our finding is the first unified description of a whole range of behaviours and should hopefully make the modeling of this animal more accessible."


'/>"/>

Contact: Clare Elsley
clare@campuspr.co.uk
44-011-325-89880
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today ... role of principal product architect and that ... of customer development. Both will report directly to ... The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its ... high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global ... 2016 - 2024". According to the report, the  global ... billion in 2015 and is estimated to grow ... 48.56 billion by 2024.  Increasing application ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Muse bio, a privately-held company ... announced that Dr. Kevin Ness has been ... of Directors. Kevin succeeds Muse bio,s ... company,s Chief Science Officer as well as remains Slade ... the BioDesign Center at the RAS Energy Institute at ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... YORK and ANN ARBOR, Mich. ... privately held biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough immune modulatory medicines, ... trial of the Company,s lead therapeutic candidate, LYC-30937- E ... is often a debilitating skin disease that is estimated ... the United States , with approximately 1.5 ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... SAN DIEGO , December 7, 2016 ... published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences a team ... 1 ] have demonstrated that expression of ... prognoses.  These scientists tested for NR2F6 in patient,s cervical cancer ... of their tumors. "This is an interesting study ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Boston, MA and Azusa, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... commercial provider of distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions for industrial facilities, ... Brewing Company , will be the first to use Cambrian’s novel water-energy purchase ...
Breaking Biology Technology: