About the Cell Lineage Module

"Learning Modules" are being developed on WormClassroom to serve as an interactive and self-contained learning environment complete with its own learning objectives. The C. elegans Cell Lineage learning module is one of the first released modules.

The C. elegans Cell Lineage Learning Module gives student the opportunity to track a cell's development and trace its predecessors and successors. Students can investigate the spatial relationship (left/right, anterior/posterior and dorsal/ventral) of cells during embryonic development. The learning objectives for this module include:

  1. Understanding fundamental biology concepts such as cells’ predecessors and successors, the spatial relationship among developing cells, the invariant cell lineage in embryonic development,
  2. Developing the ability to inquire, and
  3. Gaining insights toward the completion of cell lineage. The intent is that with exploration of this module students will understand cell lineaging and how the completion of the C. elegans cell lineage has broad implications to other key biological concepts such as cellular differentiation.

Example Mini-Modules

Modules developed using materials in this Cell Lineage Module.

4D Development

The primarily learning objective is to help students understand development happens in space (3-dimensional) and time (3D + time = 4-dimensional).

Learning Objectives

Major concept: Development happens in space (3-Dimension) plus time (4-D). This include 3-D and 4-D in development 

Sub-concepts: 

  • Cells/embryos have depth – 3 dimensions
  • Axes of body plan : A/P, dorsal/ ventral, (left and right: not as crucial, can be reversed)) 
  • In early embryogenesis, the mass of an embryo does not change (while cell number increases) during an embryo’s development 
  • Embryo vs. stem cell (a multi-potential cell)

Time required: Approximately six hours class time. 

Handouts: (in MS Word format, .doc files) 

More Resources for the 4D Mini-Module

C. elegans Left/Right Symmetry (one of the three axes, PPT file, 2 MB) by Dr. Bill Wood at the University of Colorado-Boulder. 

A 4D movie (280 MB): this is a mutant worm developed up to 8-cell embryonic stage. You may find the embryo pulsating as the movie sometimes ran through different focal planes to make a 4D movie - by Dr. Bill Wood at the University of Colorado-Boulder.