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Weaving worms
Meredith Wright '13
Department Molecular Biology (Murphy Lab)
For my senior thesis work, I have done many chemotaxis assays with C. elegans worms. This involves training the worms to associate food with a smell, and seeing if the worms will learn and remember to crawl to the smell when there is no food present. A paralyzing agent is needed to keep the worms at the odorant site for imaging. Sodium azide is the paralyzing agent in this case; this chemical makes the worms, which usually move in a lovely sinusoidal fashion, go stick-straight and stop moving. In this case, the worms not only went straight but stayed connected, weaving together to look like the leaves of a flower.