Manipulation of Ploidy in Caenorhabditis elegans

J Vis Exp. 2018 Mar 15;(133):57296. doi: 10.3791/57296.

Abstract

Mechanisms that involve whole genome polyploidy play important roles in development and evolution; also, an abnormal generation of tetraploid cells has been associated with both the progression of cancer and the development of drug resistance. Until now, it has not been feasible to easily manipulate the ploidy of a multicellular animal without generating mostly sterile progeny. Presented here is a simple and rapid protocol for generating tetraploid Caenorhabditis elegans animals from any diploid strain. This method allows the user to create a bias in chromosome segregation during meiosis, ultimately increasing ploidy in C. elegans. This strategy relies on the transient reduction of expression of the rec-8 gene to generate diploid gametes. A rec-8 mutant produces diploid gametes that can potentially produce tetraploids upon fertilization. This tractable scheme has been used to generate tetraploid strains carrying mutations and chromosome rearrangements to gain insight into chromosomal dynamics and interactions during pairing and synapsis in meiosis. This method is efficient for generating stable tetraploid strains without genetic markers, can be applied to any diploid strain, and can be used to derive triploid C. elegans. This straightforward method is useful for investigating other fundamental biological questions relevant to genome instability, gene dosage, biological scaling, extracellular signaling, adaptation to stress, development of resistance to drugs, and mechanisms of speciation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Male
  • Ploidies*