The nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, is an animal model used by biologists worldwide. Tracking their behaviour helps in the study of genes similar to those in people. Egg-laying, for example, is controlled via a neural circuit in the worm that uses serotonin – the same molecule that modulates our mood. So if we find worms that lay eggs in an abnormal way, we may learn more about mental disorders like depression. However, it’s really hard to automate image-analysis to spot these miniature egg-laying events. Enter Worm Watch Lab: a citizen science project that means anyone can record the crucial egg-laying moment in videos of worms. Two years old this week, the project's been an enormous success: more than 10,000 volunteers have made 600,000 classifications in over 500 video hours. My group leader André Brown at the Clinical Sciences Centre was in the founding team. Ten thousand await analysis. Want a go?
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.