UBC C. elegans Gene Knockout Laboratory is part of an international
consortium, working to produce null mutations in identified and
predicted genes in the C. elegans genome. Our gene targets
include those with human homologs, many of which may be implicated
in human genetic diseases, as well as a set that are nematode specific.
These latter genes are important from a human health perspective
and because nematodes are major agricultural pests. Determining
the function of genes specific to nematodes could offer the pharmaceutical
industry new target proteins for nematicide development.
Gene inactivation is accomplished by two methods.
The majority of screening is done using a PCR-based reverse-genetics
method. More recently we have pioneered the use of oligonucleotide
array comparative genomic hybridization (oaCGH) as a tool for
determination of the C. elegans DNA sequence makes possible
the targeting of all genes in this organism, which in turn will
help elucidate the detailed information necessary to build a worm.
Significant conservation between nematode and human genes may
provide answers to vexing biological and genetic questions in
our own species.