Please support Model Organism Databases (MODs)

Model Organisms such as yeast, worm, fly, fish, and mouse are key drivers of biological research, providing experimental systems that yield insights into human biology and health. Model Organism Databases (MODs) and other genome resources like Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium enable researchers all over the world to uncover basic, conserved biological mechanisms relevant to new medical therapies.

NHGRI/NIH has recently advanced a plan to reduce MOD funding while encouraging these resources to share as much infrastructure as possible.  While there are a number of advantages of more integration such as consistent user interfaces and vocabularies, unless other sources of funding are found to offset the planned cuts, core functions at WormBase such as extraction of information from papers and genome annotation will be affected. The Worm Board, worm community leaders and other model organism community leaders have come together to write a Statement of Support for the MODs and the GO. We ask all scientists who value the community-specific nature of the MODs to sign this ‘open letter’. We urge you to add your name, and to spread the word to all researchers who value these resources.

Please sign this letter!

Check out the first chapter of WormBook in GENETICS!

The first chapter of WormBook in GENETICS, CRISPR-Based Methods for Caenorhabditis elegans Genome Engineering, by Daniel J. Dickinson and Bob Goldstein, is now available!

The advent of genome editing techniques based on the clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)–Cas9 system has revolutionized research in the biological sciences. CRISPR is quickly becoming an indispensible experimental tool for researchers using genetic model organisms, including the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we provide an overview of CRISPR-based strategies for genome editing in C. elegans. We focus on practical considerations for successful genome editing, including a discussion of which strategies are best suited to producing different kinds of targeted genome modifications.

December 2015: 20 new labs have joined the community!

20 new labs have registered with WormBase and the CGC. Please join us in welcoming these labs to the community!

Representative Lab Code Allele Code Institution URL
Bi-Tzen Juang BTJ nct National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
David de Pomerai DDP uon The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Frank Doering FED cau University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany website
Ana Carvalho GCP prt IBMC, Porto, Portugal
Haijun Tu HTU aij Hunan University, Hunan, China website
Jose Perez-Martin JPM sal Instituto de Biologia Funcional y Genomica CSIC, Salamanca, Spain
Jingru Sun JRS sun Washington State University, Spokane, WA website
Maria Ermolaeva MAE mer Leibniz Institute for Age Research/Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI), Jena, Germany website
Nikolaus Rajewsky NIK raj Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Berlin, Germany website
Peter M Douglas PMD uts UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX website
Annalise Paaby QF qef Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA website
Rui Xiao RUX zax University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Javier Apfeld SAY wit Northeastern University, Boston, MA website
Steven Zuryn SJZ fox The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
Tao Xu TXL txu Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China website
Anna Zinovyeva UY zen Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS website
Viviane Alves Gouveia VAG bcm Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil website
David Wang WUM vir Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO website
Wei Xiao XWZ sky Capital Normal University, Beijing, China

Call for nominations for a Worm Board

Dear Worm Community,

Following discussions at the 2015 International Worm Meeting it is apparent that there is a need for a group to support community resources and infrastructure. Here we announce the formation of a Worm Board. An ‘Interim Worm Board’, listed below, has drawn up a Charter (appended) and will hold elections for the first Worm Board.

We plan to hold the first elections in early 2016. We now ask for nominations for President, officers and regional representatives to begin terms from Spring 2016. The President-elect would serve as an officer for the first year, then become President in Spring 2017. Andrew Chisholm has agreed to serve as first President until Spring 2017, to oversee the initial stages of WormBoard.

Feel free to nominate anyone (including yourself). Nominees must be willing and able to serve a three-year term, if elected. All lab heads associated with a CGC laboratory designation will be eligible to vote. Nominations for officers can be sent to any member of the Interim Board; nominations for regional representatives should be sent to the current regional representative. The closing date for nominations will be December 31st.

Worm Board is a new way of organizing our community efforts, but is based on structures that have worked well for other genetic model organisms. For Worm Board to be effective it must have the support of the community. We welcome any feedback on this new venture; please nominate, and vote!

Interim Worm Board

Interim officers:

Julie Ahringer

Andrew Chisholm

Anne Hart

Oliver Hobert

Interim regional representatives:

US/East: Jane Hubbard (New York University)

US/Central/South: David Greenstein (University of Minnesota)

US/West: Miriam Goodman (Stanford)

Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions: Te-wen Lo (Ithaca College)

Canada and Americas: Brent Derry (Toronto)

Europe including UK (2): Peter Meister (U of Bern) and Ralf Sommer (Tuebingen)

Asia/Australasia/Oceania (2): Asako Sugimoto (Tohoku U) and Hong Zhang (CAS Beijing)

Ex officio members:

GSA liaison: Anne Villeneuve

PI of WormBase Consortium: Paul Sternberg

Director of the CGC: Ann Rougvie

elegans nomenclature coordinator: Tim Schedl

WormBook Editor-in-Chief: Iva Greenwald

PIs of the gene knockout consortia: Don Moerman, Shohei Mitani

PIs of nematode genome projects: Mark Blaxter

Current and most recent International Worm Meeting organizers: Andrew Chisholm and Marie-Anne Felix (2017); Benjamin Podbilewicz and Gillian Stanfield (2015)

Worm Board Charter


Since its inception the C. elegans field has relied on the voluntary efforts of community-minded individuals to develop and organize key resources and meetings. As the field enters its second half-century, continued growth necessitates a more formal structure for such efforts. The Worm Board has been formed to advocate for C. elegans research internationally and to foster the continued development of community resources.

Composition of WormBoard

The WormBoard is a representative group of working scientists and educators who use C. elegans or related nematodes as their primary model organism. WormBoard will meet in odd-numbered years at the biennial International C. elegans meeting, and if possible at one of the topic or regional meetings in even-numbered years. Additional business will be conducted by email or teleconference.

Officers (total 4)

Worm Board will have four officers: A President, a President-elect, a Secretary, and an Election manager. An election held at the end of each year will chose a President-elect, who will serve as an officer the first year, then be President the second year. To ensure continuity in the Board, the President will then serve in officer positions for two additional years, first as “Secretary”, then “Election manager”.

Regional Representatives (total 9)

The regional representatives will be selected by votes of the respective communities in these regions. Regional representatives serve for a period of three years. Terms of office for the Officers and the Regional Representatives begin and end at the Board meetings in the summer. Regions are represented as follows: US/East (1); US/Central and South (1); US/West (1); Canada and Americas (1); Europe (including UK) (2); Asia/Australasia/Oceania (2); a representative of Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (1). Representation of regions is based on approximate number of active labs and will be periodically reviewed.

Ex officio members

The following individuals or their representatives will serve on the Board as non-voting ex officio members, and may also serve as voting officers or regional representatives, if elected:

Liaison with the Genetics Society of America (a GSA board member, if available).

The PI of the WormBase consortium

The Director of the CGC

The C. elegans nomenclature coordinator.

The editor of WormBook

The PIs of the gene knockout consortium projects.

One PI of nematode genome projects

Current and most recent International Worm Meeting organizers.

WormBoard’s discussion of community issues benefits from input from the entire community. The regional representatives are responsible for canvassing C. elegans researchers from their regions on major issues. Advice from ex officio members will also be solicited on all Board issues. The Officers and the Regional Representatives, as the elected officials of the Board, constitute its voting body.


The Elections Manager is responsible for organizing the election of the Officers. Each Regional representative will serve on a nomination subcommittee and be responsible for overseeing the election of their replacement. Nominees may be proposed by the community, or be self-nominated. If there are insufficient nominations, current WormBoard members will propose nominees for each position, chosen to represent of the diversity of C. elegans researchers. Nominees must agree to be willing to serve their full terms on WormBoard. Elections will be held in December-January. Newly elected Representatives begin their term the following spring and participate in the WormBoard Meeting at the summer meeting.

Responsibilities of WormBoard

 1. To advocate for C. elegans research and represent the interests of the worldwide C. elegans scientific community.

2. To gather input, discuss, and articulate strategic goals for the C. elegans community, including a ‘White paper’ summary at regular intervals.

3. To support international cooperation and communication among C. elegans researchers.

4. To act as a liaison with other communities and scientific societies with related interests.

5. To ensure a successful International C. elegans Meeting. The Board will approve the venue and appoint the Scientific Organizers. The Board will also support the Topic and Regional meetings in alternating years, as well as other community activities.

6. To promote the relevance of C. elegans research to human health, both in fundamental discovery and in biomedical or disease modeling.

7. To promote C. elegans investigators for honors, awards, and prizes

8. To promote public outreach, educational initiatives, programs, or forums, and to support the use of C. elegans in biology education.

9. To promote the generation, maintenance, and advancement of infrastructure projects valuable to the international C. elegans community, including: the WormBase consortium, WormBook, the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center, the C. elegans gene knockout consortia, and nematode genome sequencing projects.

10. In the event that any unspent funds are available, to the Board will develop plans to administer them for the benefit of the C. elegans research community.

Prepared by Andrew Chisholm (UCSD), 12/15/15.