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The embryonic cell lineage of C. elegans, revisited and revisualized

Posted by on October 26th, 2012

On my desk sits a tattered photocopy of one of the pinnacles of modern developmental biology, the “embryonic lineage” paper by John Sulston, et al. (1983). In this paper, Sulston et al. completed a project begun in the late 19th century, namely to trace the complete genealogy of all cells in a nematode embryo. C.[…]

Worms teach about germline stem cells

Posted by on October 10th, 2012

To me, the stem cells within a germline are a perfect storm of fascination.  Stem cells are, of course, intriguing in their ability to self-renew and differentiate, and a germline is intriguing in its ability to generate gametes.  Add stem cells and germlines together, and you have amazing biology in front of you…and more biology[…]

Meeting the worm community

Posted by on July 1st, 2011

Last week I attended the 18th international C. elegans meeting at UCLA, organised by the Genetics Society of America. Having done most of my scientific training with mammalian cell culture, I had never been to an organism-specific meeting – let alone one about worms – and I was curious to find out what it would[…]

Mathematical and Computational Modelling at the BSDB Meeting 2011

Posted by on June 20th, 2011

Here is part 3 of my report on the 2011 BSCB-BSDB Spring Conference this April in Canterbury. In the first part, I covered Mark Krasnow’s amazing opening lecture on lung development, and in part two I introduced this year’s awardees of the BSCB and BSDB honorary medals. Here I’ll highlight some of the talks in[…]


Posted by on January 6th, 2011

The modENCODE project (model organism encyclopedia of DNA elements) is a collaborative effort to identify all sequence-based functional elements of Drosophila and C. elegans. The project has now produced almost a thousand data sets with information about transcription, epigenetics, replication and gene regulation across different developmental stages and multiple cell lines. Just before the holidays,[…]

WormBase: It’s not just for C. elegans anymore

Posted by on October 29th, 2010

WormBase — — is the central data repository for Caenorhabditis elegans and related nematodes. C. elegans is a well-known system for studying problems in developmental biology, the benefits of which I will quickly rehash here. Its rapid generation time from fertilized egg to gravid adult (3.5 days) and small size (1mM) permit 1000’s of[…]