Caenorhabditis Sieve: A Low-tech Instrument and Methodology for Sorting Small Multicellular Organisms

J Vis Exp. 2018 Jul 4;(137):58014. doi: 10.3791/58014.


Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a well-established model organism used across a range of basic and biomedical research. Within the nematode research community, there is a need for an affordable and effective way to maintain large, age-matched populations of C. elegans. Here, we present a methodology for mechanically sorting and cleaning C. elegans. Our aim is to provide a cost-effective, efficient, fast, and simple process to obtain animals of uniform sizes and life stages for their use in experiments. This tool, the Caenorhabditis Sieve, uses a custom-built lid system that threads onto common conical lab tubes and sorts C. elegans based on body size. We also demonstrate that the Caenorhabditis Sieve effectively transfers animals from one culture plate to another allowing for a rapid sorting, synchronizing, and cleaning without impacting markers of health, including motility and stress-inducible gene reporters. This accessible and innovative tool is a fast, efficient, and non-stressful option for maintaining C. elegans populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis / chemistry
  • Caenorhabditis / isolation & purification*