St. John's College Annapolis The Program

Searching for C. elegens

By Audra Zook

In Annapolis, the senior class just finished demonstrating some of Mendel’s laws of inheritance with experiments mating C. elegans, a microscopic worm present in most soil. Having done a Hodson internship in genetic research, seeing these laws unfold in real time was especially exciting. We paired a wild-type with a recessive mutant form, termed “dumpy,” for its short length and chubby width, and found, lo and behold, that the hybrids from that union produced the classic 3-to-1 dominant-to-recessive ratio in their own offspring! For the most part. Trying to get accurate tallies of hundreds of squiggling little worms that look more or less identical may have introduced a teensy bit of human error. My Santa Fe counterparts can tell me if counting hundreds of flying Drosophila was any easier…

C. elegans
C. elegans

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