LSI researchers make it easier to study diet-sensitive genes in worms

May 7, 2015

It’s going to be easier for scientists to use roundworms to study diet-sensitive genes thanks to an innovation led by the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute.

LSI researchers and their collaborators genetically modified a strain of bacteria that serves as the standard laboratory diet for C. elegans. It allows them to use a technique known as RNAi to identify diet-sensitive genes and thus to study the genetic underpinnings of how different diets affect development, metabolism, behavior and aging.

Making the worms’ standard food source RNAi-compatible will greatly facilitate their use as a model for dietary signaling, said study first author Rui Xiao, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Shawn Xu lab.

The research was published in Cell Reports.