C. elegans can also aid UVR research

2020-08-20 16:40

The crisp autumn weather makes many people think that UV rays become weaker in the fall and they don't need sun protection. However, the intensity of UV rays is still relatively high in autumn, and even cloudy skies can cause sunburn and sun dermatitis.

Researchers have been studying the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) for decades using C. elegans and zebrafish (Danio rerio) (1,2). The Cryptorchid nematode has been mentioned in the journal American Biology Teacher as a very simple but powerful research tool that can be used to demonstrate the harmful effects of UVR to students (3). In addition, a recent review of papers has highlighted the importance of zebrafish in exploring UVR changes due to environmental and climate change, revealing how UVR affects wild fish populations (4). Furthermore, building on traditional research, the use of nematodes as model organisms has shown that UVR not only affects the spread of melanoma (5) but also lifespan (6).

Nematode research is never-ending. Tomorrow the worm will bring us more surprises!

1.    Klass MR. Aging in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans: major biological and environmental factors influencing life span. Mech Ageing Dev. 1977;6(6):413-429. doi:10.1016/0047-6374(77)90043-4

2.    Grunwald, D., & Streisinger, G. (1992). Induction of mutations in the zebrafish with ultraviolet light. Genetical Research, 59(2), 93-101. 


3.    Fran Norflus "The Use of Inquiry-Based Activities with Caenorhabditis elegans to Enable Students to Learn about UV Radiation," The American Biology Teacher, 79(5), 401-406, (1 May 2017)

4.    Alves, R.N., Agustí, S. Effect of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on the life stages of fish. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 30, 335–372 (2020).

5.    Wäster, P., Orfanidis, K., Eriksson, I. et al. UV radiation promotes melanoma dissemination mediated by the sequential reaction axis of cathepsins–TGF-β1–FAP-α. Br J Cancer 117, 535–544 (2017).

6.    De Magalhaes Filho, C.D., Henriquez, B., Seah, N.E. et al. Visible light reduces C. elegans longevity. Nat Commun 9, 927 (2018).