Example Research – Cell Division

How does a cell manage to divide into two cells? Why are development arrested? The study of cell division in C. elegans helps us uncover the relationship between genes and their expressions.

A wild type: this will develop into a worm.
(640 KB, movie length: 10″)

A mutant: its development will be arrested.
(1 MB, movie length: 15″)

The Cloned Gene Sequence

Wild type

The Encoded Protein Sequence

Wild type
(706 amino acid)
(615 amino acid)

Research Questions

  1. How do genes regulate organisms’ development?
  2. Are genes found in one organism also found in other organisms? (ties to evolutionary biology)

More Information

O’Connell KF, Caron C, Kopish KR, Hurd DD, Kemphues KJ, Li Y, White JG. The C. elegans zyg-1 gene encodes a regulator of centrosome duplication with distinct maternal and paternal roles in the embryo. Cell. 2001 May 18;105(4):547-58.

Genotype/Phenotype module: instructional materials for learning the relationship between genotype and phenotype by inquiry. Students get to observe phenomena, pose questions, collect evidences etc. Animations, movies, images and hands-on tools are provided to assist learning. With adequate citation, materials are free to be used in other pedagogical approaches.


Wild type and mutant movies: Kevin O’Connell, National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases.

wtGenetics.mov638.4 KB
mutGenetics.mov1.03 MB