C. elegans is a nematode—a member of the phylum Nematoda. Nematodes are roundworms and threadworms, a phylum of smooth-skinned, unsegmented worms with a long cylindrical body shape tapered at the ends; includes free-living and parasitic forms both aquatic and terrestrial. C. elegans is a non-hazardous, non-infectious, non-pathogenic, non-parasitic organism. It is small, growing to about 1 mm in length, and lives in the soil—especially rotting vegetation—in many parts of the world, where it survives by feeding on microbes such as bacteria.
What makes C. elegans best model for biomedical research?
Easy to grow in lab
Short life cycle: 3 days per generation
Powerful genetics (both self-fertile and cross-fertile)
Fully described anatomy and development
Completely sequenced genome
Post-genomic tools — RNAi