Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Worm Watching
06 July 2013

Worm Watching

It’s a simple life being a nematode worm like the ones in this picture – you just wriggle around, eat, poop and lay eggs. But although these behaviours are quite basic, they’re still controlled by genes. Scientists know that egg-laying is controlled by a gene making a protein called serotonin, but it’s not clear which other genes and proteins work together to make eggs pop out correctly. Now the public can help researchers track down some of these vital genetic instructions, through an online game called Worm Watch Lab. Players will help analyse data hidden in more than 10,000 short videos of worms with various genetic faults. The idea is simple – you just watch the worm on the screen, then click when an egg appears. By getting more eyes on the worms, the scientists hope to scan through their data much faster, revealing more about the genes involved.

Written by Kat Arney

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