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An imaging system for standardized quantitative analysis of C. elegans behavior

Feng, Zhaoyang and Cronin, Christopher J. and Wittig, John H., Jr. and Sternberg, Paul W. and Schafer, William R. (2004) An imaging system for standardized quantitative analysis of C. elegans behavior. BMC Bioinformatics, 5 (115). pp. 1-6. ISSN 1471-2105.

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Background: The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is widely used for the genetic analysis of neuronal cell biology, development, and behavior. Because traditional methods for evaluating behavioral phenotypes are qualitative and imprecise, there is a need for tools that allow quantitation and standardization of C. elegans behavioral assays. Results: Here we describe a tracking and imaging system for the automated analysis of C. elegans morphology and behavior. Using this system, it is possible to record the behavior of individual nematodes over long time periods and quantify 144 specific phenotypic parameters. Conclusions: These tools for phenotypic analysis will provide reliable, comprehensive scoring of a wide range of behavioral abnormalities, and will make it possible to standardize assays such that behavioral data from different labs can readily be compared. In addition, this system will facilitate high-throughput collection of phenotypic data that can ultimately be used to generate a comprehensive database of C. elegans phenotypic information. Availability: The hardware configuration and software for the system are available from wschafer AT

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Received: 12 May 2004; Accepted: 26 August 2004; Published: 26 August 2004. BMC Bioinformatics 2004, 5:115 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-5-115. This article is available from: © 2004 Feng et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This work was supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health (to W.R.S. and P.W.S.) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (P.W.S.). Zhaoyang Feng is a postdoctoral fellow of the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund/La Jolla Interfaces in Science interdisciplinary training program. The authors thank Anthony Kempf for critical discussion. ZF and CJC jointly wrote the software and developed the system described here. JHW developed an early version of the system and designed the hardware configuration. PWS and WRS jointly conceived of this project, and participated in its design and coordination. WRS drafted the manuscript, CJC drafted the supplemental guide to the algorithms, and ZF drafted the supplemental hardware list. All authors read and approved the final version.
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Deposited On:13 May 2005
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 08:39

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