Natural genetic variation as a tool for discovery in Caenorhabditis nematodes

Erik C. Andersen, Matthew V. Rockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last 20 years, studies of Caenorhabditis elegans natural diversity have demonstrated the power of quantitative genetic approaches to reveal the evolutionary, ecological, and genetic factors that shape traits. These studies complement the use of the laboratory-adapted strain N2 and enable additional discoveries not possible using only one genetic background. In this chapter, we describe how to perform quantitative genetic studies in Caenorhabditis, with an emphasis on C. elegans. These approaches use correlations between genotype and phenotype across populations of genetically diverse individuals to discover the genetic causes of phenotypic variation. We present methods that use linkage, near-isogenic lines, association, and bulk-segregant mapping, and we describe the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. The power of C. elegans quantitative genetic mapping is best shown in the ability to connect phenotypic differences to specific genes and variants. We will present methods to narrow genomic regions to candidate genes and then tests to identify the gene or variant involved in a quantitative trait. The same features that make C. elegans a preeminent experimental model animal contribute to its exceptional value as a tool to understand natural phenotypic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberiyab156
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Caenorhabditis
  • Genetic variation
  • QTL mapping
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Recombinant inbred lines
  • WormBook
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural genetic variation as a tool for discovery in Caenorhabditis nematodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this