Biochemist holding a frozen sample of the tiny, soil-dwelling nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. A particular strain of this worm may be frozen, with liquid nitrogen, at any stage in its development, and revived at a later date. Some specimens have remained viable in this way for 18 years. An intense study is currently underway to decode the genetic blueprint of C. elegans. Aside from its resilience to cold storage there are other factors making this worm an ideal subject for research. Although it exhibits a variety of differentiated cells, it is very simple in structure, and, given a sufficient supply of bacteria to feed on, a large colony will thrive.
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