Worm Breeder's Gazette 12(2): 13 (January 1, 1992)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.


David Fitch[1], Lynn Carta[2], W. Kelley Thomas[3], Mark Edgley[4]

[1]Department of Molecular Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
[2]HHMI/Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125
[3]Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 401 Barker Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
[4]Curator, Caenorhabditis Genetics Center, 110 Tucker Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211

In response to the growing interest in worms related to C. elegans for comparative studies, we are coordinating an effort to collect a comprehensive array of cryopreservable species belonging to the order Rhabditida. This collection would be maintained at the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center, would be freely available to all interested scientists, and would provide an excellent resource for worm breeders who are interested in applying a broader phylogenetic viewpoint to comparative biological investigations. Of course, an important advantage of a universally accepted canonical set of living type species is that species identifications can be tested biologically through cross-mating experiments. The utility of such a collection has already been demonstrated in the Drosophila systemÑa remarkable collection of species from around the world is maintained, for example, at the Bowling Green Stock Center in Ohio.

We request that interested parties please send their wild isolates to David Fitch, Lynn Carta or Kelley Thomas, along with the following data: the date, source and method of isolation, any ecological information concerning the isolate, pertinent literature references, the names and addresses of the collector, the depositor and the taxonomist(1), and any specifics about stock maintenance. Other data about the species should also be included, such as measurements(2) and male tail characteristics. Scale illustrations and any anatomical, developmental, cytogenetic or molecular data are greatly appreciated. If the isolate is hermaphroditic, males should also be provided, since most of the morphological characters used in species identifications are associated with males. Males may occur spontaneously or can be induced by heat-shocking L4 or young adult hermaphrodites (usually, but not always, at 30°C for 6 hours). Males obtained in this way can be mated to hermaphrodites to maintain a stock containing males.

Kelley will provide a molecular "identification tag". David and Lynn will determine if the species has been previously identified in the literature and serve as liaisons to nematologists with taxonomic expertise to help verify the species identification. We will then deposit the species with the CGC. Eventually, we hope to make all of the information associated with each species in the collection available in a database. (See the abstract by Fitch et al. in this issue for the latest information on current CGC species depositions).

So hesitate not to share your pet species with us! We think that the effort in building a phylogenetically broad and comprehensive live collection of Rhabditida will be more than compensated by the valuable opportunities it will provide for developing novel approaches to many areas of nematode research.

Literature Cited:

1. For those interested in taxonomy, we suggest Andrassy, I., 1983. A taxonomic Review of the Suborder Rhabditina (Nematoda:Secernentia). ORSTOM, Paris. This small volume is available for 80 FF from Editions de l'ORSTOM, 72, Route d'Aulnay, 93143 Bondy Cedex, France.

2. For information on which morphological measurements to take, see the above reference and/or contact David or Lynn. Basic measurements (in µm) are of body length and maximum width, length of the esophagus from the lips to the beginning of the intestine, length of the tail from the anus to the tail tip, and the position of the vulva as a percentage of the body length from the lips. Measurements should be taken of at least 10 males and females/hermaphrodites, using an ocular micrometer or camera lucida.