Reimagining pheromone signalling in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Viney, M. and Harvey, S.C. (2017) Reimagining pheromone signalling in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genetics, 13 (11). e1007046. ISSN 1553-7390.

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Caenorhabditis elegans is an important, widely used developmental and genetic model. A pheromone has long been known to cause juvenile developmental arrest in C. elegans, a phenomenon that is common among nematodes more widely. Many novel effects of this pheromone are now being discovered—most recently, that exogenous supply of this pheromone controls adult worms reproduction. Here, we suggest that to properly understand and interpret these phenomena, C. elegans natural ecology must be considered, about which rather little is known. With this perspective, we suggest that C. elegans pheromone signalling evolves very locally, such that there are different dialects of pheromone signalling among ecological communities and among kin groups, and we also argue that pheromone signals may also evolve to be manipulative and dishonest. New approaches must be undertaken to study these phenomena in C. elegans. While model systems have been tremendously important tools in modern biological research, taking account of their natural history is necessary, and key, to properly understand and interpret laboratory-based discoveries.understand and interpret laboratory-based discoveries.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 Open Access
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Simon Harvey
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2017 11:30
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 12:00

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00