The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans may now be able to take a sick day. For the first time in nearly forty years of intense study, scientists have identified two new viruses that can infect the worms in the wild, opening up new avenues of research in host-virus interactions.
Caenorhabditis elegans
Image: Mary-Anne Félix, The Monod Institute
"It's a landmark study," said linkurl:Dennis Kim,; a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study. "This is a definitive work on naturally-occurring viruses in C. elegans."The simple anatomy and two- to three-week lifespan of C. elegans have made it ideal for studying complex biological processes. Over the years, researchers have used it to study a variety of systems, such as neurological development, reproduction, and even immune function, feeding the worms bacteria to see how they responded to pathogens. But there was one thing researchers have always...
C. elegansC. elegansC. elegansC. elegansC. elegansC. elegansC. elegansNodaviridaeC. elegansC. elegansC. elegansM.A. Félix, et al., "Natural and experimental infection of Caenorhabditis nematodes by novel viruses related to nodaviruses," PLoS Biology, 9(1): e1000586. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000586, 2011.

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