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Caenorhabditis elegans

Caenorhabitis elegans (C. elegans) is a free-living nematode (a roundworm), about 1 mm in size, which feeds on soil bacteria. It is used as a model organism, especially for studying cellular differentiation, and the first animal to have its genome completely sequenced.

It has the advantage of being a multicellular eukaryotic organism which is simple enough to be studied in great detail. The developmental fate of all of its 959 somatic cells has been mapped out, which are left from the original 1090 cells, after 131 die of apoptosis. In addition, C. elegans is one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system.

This organism got into the news when it was discovered that specimens had survived the Columbia space shuttle's disintegration (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2992123.stm).

This organism is the subject of a proposal which involves cataloguing its glycome.

Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Nematoda (roundworms)
Class Secernentea[?]
Order Rhabditida
Family Rhabditidae[?]
Genus Caenorhabditis
Species C. elegans



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