I am a miniscule worm that lives underground. My length is only one millimeter long, making me nearly invisible to the human eye. There is absolutely no sense of existence in the human world about me. I am so small that I did not believe that one day, I will be able to appear on the Nobel Prize stage and prove my value to the world. I am Caenorhabditis elegans.
My story began in the 1960s. At that time, scientists were rapidly solving many molecular biology problems, but they lacked a suitable animal model for their research. This all changed when Dr. Sydney Brenner inadvertently found me. Although my physical appearance is very different from humans, I actually share 40-60% of my genes with them, with 40% of the genes being key pathogenic genes that have been confirmed！ Consequently, I left the familiar soil and came to the laboratory to serve the scientists, together with the fruit flies, zebrafish and mice.
Mice are my old-timers. But because they are larger, eat more, grow slower and have poorer breeding ability, experiments involving mice often require more time and money. However, I make up for these disadvantages in mice. My life span is about 16 days. Scientists can experiment with me and get the results very soon. I am also very small and transparent, which is easy for observation under a microscope. I mainly eat E. coli bacteria, which is very cheap. Moreover, I am hermaphroditic, so I can lay up to 300 eggs at a time by myself. Although my life span is short, I will switch into hibernation mode in a -80°C environment. When scientists need me to continue the experiment, I can simply just thaw out. These characteristics have greatly reduced the time and money spent on basic research by scientists.
To conduct their experiments, scientists can edit and manipulate my genes for their purposes. Everything, from the birth, through the aging process, to the death of an organism is related to its genes. Since my genes are highly similar to those of a human, scientists can make simple modifications, such as deletions, insertions, or replacements, to achieve their research goals.
Over the years, I have been served the scientific community diligently, and my influence is still growing. In 2002, scientists used me to discover the genetic regulation mechanism of programmed cell death (apoptosis), winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 2006, another group of scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine by using me to discover the mechanism for RNA interference. In 2008, another scientist won the Nobel Prize in chemistry by using me to discover and modify green fluorescent protein (GFP). At present, there are more than 20,000 laboratories around the world that use me as an animal model, and even some research communities are named after me. However, I believe that I still have a lot of potential, and there are still new uses for me that have yet to be discovered. Today, there is a lack of genome modification technology that makes it difficult to validate current research.
Therefore, I moved to SunyBiotech in 2016. This company specializes in providing C.elegans gene editing services for scientists all over the world. In just over 2 years, millions of my friends have taken their edited genes from Fuzhou to the rest of the world, traveling to famous universities and laboratories in Europe and America.
SunyBiotech also gave me a special code name – PHX. If scientists use me to conduct research and make new discoveries and publish papers, they will indicate my code name. In the past year, my code name has frequently appeared in world-famous biological journals, such as Cell, Developmental Cell, DNA Repair, Redox Biology, Genetics, etc.
Nowadays, SunyBiotech has become a well-known name in the biological scientific community. The number of scientific institutions and scientists who are interested in using my genes has continually increased. Today, my SunyBiotech story is just beginning ...