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Caenorhabditis elegans UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • Researchers from Princeton University have reported that after the Caenorhabditis elegans worms ate a disease-causing strain of bacteria, its progeny were born with the ‘knowledge’ to avoid making the same mistake for up to four generations

  • Pseudomonas vranovensis is a disease-causing bacterium found in C. elegans’s natural environment.

  • The researchers found that P. vranovensis makes a small RNA molecule called sRNA

  • When the worms ingest this strain, they also take in the sRNA

  • The sRNA then altered the worm’s feeding behaviour such that, from that point on, the worms ‘know’ to avoid feeding on this bacterium and save themselves from getting sick.

  • Given the mechanism by which this transmission occurs, the study raises questions about whether humans could have the same ability.

Caenorhabditis elegans

  • It was the first multicellular organism to have its full genome sequenced and neural wiring mapped

  • Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living transparent nematode that lives in temperate soil environments

  • C. elegans grows within 3-5 days from a fertilised egg to a millimetre-long adult, and it has informed profound insights into the human body, as well as biology more broadly.

Four chemical bases of DNA and RNA

  • A DNA molecule is like a big ladder

  • Its two side rails, or strands, are made of a long series of alternating units of phosphate and the sugar deoxyribose molecules

  • Each sugar unit is attached to one of four chemical bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T)

  • The As and Cs on one strand are bonded with Ts and Gs on the other by hydrogen bonds

  • These bonds form the rungs that hold the strands together.

  • In contrast to DNA, the RNA molecule is like a half-ladder or a comb. 

  • Its spine is made up of alternating units of phosphate and the sugar ribose

  • Each ribose molecule is attached to one of four bases: A, C, G or uridine (U), which jut out from the strand like the comb’s tines

  • A cell copies the sequence of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs in a gene in the DNA into the sequence of Us, As, Gs, and Cs in an RNA molecule

  • This RNA is called the messenger (mRNA)

  • The length of this mRNA is comparable to that of the gene from which it is derived

  • The mRNA moves to structures called ribosomes, where the cell assembles the corresponding protein.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Caenorhabditis elegans UPSC NOTE
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