Finding function in novel targets: C. elegans as a model organism

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2006 May;5(5):387-98. doi: 10.1038/nrd2031.


Despite its apparent simplicity, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has developed into an important model for biomedical research, particularly in the functional characterization of novel drug targets that have been identified using genomics technologies. The cellular complexity and the conservation of disease pathways between C. elegans and higher organisms, together with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of cultivation, make for an effective in vivo model that is amenable to whole-organism high-throughput compound screens and large-scale target validation. This review describes how C. elegans models can be used to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of drug action and disease pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans*
  • DNA
  • DNA, Helminth
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • RNA Interference
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Helminth
  • DNA