One of the MODEL Organisms in the CUBE lab is nematode. Many may be wondering what is it and any many other question as well. So, nematodes are-
- Round worms (also called Nemathelminthes)
- Found in every ecosystem (marine-fresh water, polar-tropics)- mainly in soil/pagalopos
- Size varies between 5 to 100 µm thick, and 0.1 to 2.5 mm long
- Can be free living and parasitic
So this brief description gives us an idea of what nematodes are, now in these unique world of nematodes- there is a king Caenorhabditis elegans it has also gained the title of Model Organisms.
What is a model organism? Why do we say it as a model organism?
A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena. So why C elegans said to be a model organism?
- Full genomic sequence already done in 1998
- Shares many genomic sequences and molecular pathways with humans
- Hermaphrodite/male- so that they can easily self fertilize
- Made up of only 1000 somatic cells (easy for us to study) (302 neurons which can be mapped easily and can be studied as well)
- Can be grown easily and lay around 1000 eggs per day
- and many more (read more- Why use the worm in research? | Facts | yourgenome.org)
So after reading all this I think we have given an intro of our friend C elegans. This is a story of the journey we traveled with nematode. When we started our main aim was to isolate C.elegans from India, as there was no literature quoting that it has been isolated from India; although many scientist like Marie Anne Felix and many more have taken soil from India (Gujarat and Kerala) and found other species of Caenorhabditis. (reference- https://elifesciences.org/articles/05849)
So, we proceeded with this aim during this search one new friend knocked our doors it is the member of the same family known as Osheius tipulae. It is a member of same family because it has a long and straight stoma as it is a characteristics of rhabditidae family. it has the widening middle pharynx and a prominent basal pharynx and an elongated rectum
This how it looks under the microscope when we saw it in the lab under 40x compound microscope
This was just like tonic of enthusiasm for us, we got super excited, many new member from Ratnam college, Bhandodkar College and many others joined us. The hunt for elegan took the place of top priority for us, the path became more interesting and a plethora of knowledge was gained by us. Ideas started to pop out from various parts of the country via watsapp CUBE group. One paper that was shared by one of the CUBE member, @Ritam007 of ANDC college Delhi introduced the concept of difference between lab bred and wild type to us. Lab bred one which is cultured in lab under a specific amount of media and a known feed and wild type which is present in the natural environment and feed on the unknown soil bacteria the paper was about laboratory domestication of C elegans (The laboratory domestication of Caenorhabditis elegans. - PubMed - NCBI)
As we were hunting for C elegans from India, we thought to read about the history of ** Standard Lab Bred N2 Strain C elegans**. Knowing the history was the stepping stone for our long term objective, we found that it was Dougherty who first started culturing C elegans in 1955 after Maupas isolated. So from 1955 to 2019 a lot of generation has been passed that is nearly around 7000 generation, as it takes 3.5 days to grow from an egg to adult. As drosophilla group was working on the olfaction of drosophila we also thought to study about that in elegans. We found that there is structure called amphid sensilla which is responsible for the olfaction
So what is our hypothesis? As we all know N2 lab bred strain of elegans is considered as standard so there should be no variation. So, suppose there is a elegan named a A and now there is a mutation in the gene occurs that is responsible for the olfactory receptor of A so new mutated elegan that is formed is suppose B (which due to mutation have less sense of smell as compared to A). Now if the same things happen in nature the possibility of A being surviving is more as compared to B because they have to sense the smell and search for food. Now think in the case of lab bred condition we are providing them with food in the petriplate so the area they have to search food for both the organism will be less as a result the possibility of surviving both the nematodes will be more. But we all know standard should remain constant, and in the above statement we talked about the possibility of surviving of both A and B is more in lab bred as compared to wild type. So don’t you think that the Standard which is technically called as a standard, after so many generation it is no more a standard now? We are going to prove it via olfacatory assay that is to be done using an olfactometer (which we will discuss the procedure of how to culture and proceed to do the assay in the next blog post from nematode group)
So are we challenging something very big… This claim of us create amid discussion where people really tried to force their point of views upon us, but as we said it is our hypothesis, which still nobody has worked upon so no reference of it is present. This long term objective was soon became relatable to drosophila group as well, they also thought to work upon this idea. The work on this is still going on and followed by us in different colleges in Mumbai. Drosphila and Nematode group both started a sort of collaboration via this hypothesis of ours. Thus this was brief summary of what we have worked in the last two months. BREAKING NEWS was during this process we also found a member of caenorhabditis family but it is yet to be identified precisely by us
The presence of two prominent bulbs and long straight stoma gave us the identification feature to call it a member of caenorhabditis genus.
However, despite all the progress we made so far, is it ever really enough with science? The quest is still on…
(NEMATODE WAS ON FIRE AND WILL BE ON FIRE AS OUR CURIOSITY NEVER ENDS)