This week at CHA the 8th grade students learned about Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans is the scientific name for a small, non-parasitic roundworm that is being used by scientists worldwide as a genetic model to discover new things about development and disease. Since it is one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system, it makes a great model for researchers to study neural development in animals. They are also much easier and cheaper to care for in a laboratory than mice!
Students listened to a presentation describing C. elegans anatomy and development and had an opportunity to view these organisms under the light microscope. They were able to observe and draw worms in different stages of larval development as they watched them swim around the slide. We learned that there is a lot more to worms than “eeew!”