Great new chapter of WormBook in GENETICS!

There’s a great new chapter of WormBook in GENETICS by Meera V. Sundaram and Matthew Buechner: The Caenorhabditis elegans Excretory System: A Model for Tubulogenesis, Cell Fate Specification, and Plasticity.

The excretory system of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a superb model of tubular organogenesis involving a minimum of cells. The system consists of just three unicellular tubes (canal, duct, and pore), a secretory gland, and two associated neurons. Just as in more complex organs, cells of the excretory system must first adopt specific identities and then coordinate diverse processes to form tubes of appropriate topology, shape, connectivity, and physiological function. The unicellular topology of excretory tubes, their varied and sometimes complex shapes, and the dynamic reprogramming of cell identity and remodeling of tube connectivity that occur during larval development are particularly fascinating features of this organ. The physiological roles of the excretory system in osmoregulation and other aspects of the animal’s life cycle are only beginning to be explored. The cellular mechanisms and molecular pathways used to build and shape excretory tubes appear similar to those used in both unicellular and multicellular tubes in more complex organs, such as the vertebrate vascular system and kidney, making this simple organ system a useful model for understanding disease processes.

Introductory chapter added to WormBook

Dear WormBook reader,

We are very happy to announce that A Transparent Window into Biology: A Primer on Caenorhabditis elegans, by Ann Corsi, Bruce Wightman, and Marty Chalfie, has just been added to WormBook as a co-publication with GENETICS. This concise and comprehensive review, which serves as an introductory chapter to WormBook, discusses the basic biology, genetics, anatomy, genomics, ecology, and evolution of C. elegans. Key discoveries resulting from research using this organism are described, as is the strong collaborative nature of the worm community. We expect this introduction to provide an invaluable resource for students and others new to C. elegans research and literature.

We thank Tracey DePellegrin, Ruth Isaacson, and Elizabeth De Stasio of GENETICS for their dedication to this collaboration, as well as Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston for his support of the project.

Please proceed to read this new chapter and others on nematode biology at If you have any comments or suggestions, please submit them via the Feedback page on