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Caenorhabditis elegans comes of age

DOI: 10.1186/gb-2008-9-6-312

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Abstract:

In 1998, the publication of the genome sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans (a first for metazoans) and the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) in this species provided a Big Bang for research using this model organism. What has happened since? Ten years later, scientists continue to squeeze the excellent experimental features of this animal to push the frontiers of knowledge forward in subjects as diverse as genomics, aging, behavior and development. Such breadth and variety was showcased at the recent European C. elegans conference http://www.upo.es/ewm2008 webcite. To take just one example, as evidenced at the meeting, genomic approaches often require validation that relies on genetics, and single-gene studies in return locate the gene of interest into larger functional networks. But the need to choose between the whole and the detail is long gone these days, because by now the 'wood' and the 'trees' are irreversibly connected.High-throughput work was presented by Mihail Sarov (Max Planck Institute, Dresden, Germany), who showcased the TransgeneOme project, based on an alternative recombination method for protein tagging. The TransgeneOme aims to provide an open resource of tagged fosmid transgenes for C. elegans at a genome-wide scale. The project is rolling and is initially focusing on proteins involved in transcriptional regulation as part of an international network, the modENCODE project http://www.modENCODE.org webcite, that aims to identify all functional DNA sequence elements in the C. elegans genome. Importantly, the TransgeneOme project is open for other protein sets from C. elegans to be included in their pipeline.Mark Edgley (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) reported on progress from the C. elegans Gene Knockout Consortium in Canada and the USA. As a result of the combined efforts of the Consortium, Shohei Mitani's group in Japan and the research community worldwide, approximately one-quarter (around 5,000) of all C. elegans genes has

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