Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

New tools enabling genetic manipulations in C. elegans

Technology #6584

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Shawn Xu
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332

New tools enabling genetic manipulations in C. elegans

C. elegans is a commonly used model organism in research in life sciences. RNA interference (RNAi) is a form of genetic manipulation, which allows for stopping gene expression and therefore revealing the functions of genes. RNAi delivered by bacteria in C. elegans’ diet is one of the most widely used methods for gene knockdown in C. elegans field. Currently, bacteria strain HT115 is used to deliver RNAi while the standard laboratory diet bacteria strain for C. elegans is OP50. The two bacteria strains differentially affect development, metabolism, behavior and aging in C. elegans, which leads to difficulty to integrate the knowledge obtained in OP50 and HT115. This new technology modified the standard laboratory bacteria strain OP50 for C. elegans so that this stain is compatible for RNAi delivery. This new stain produces and delivers RNAi as efficiently as HT115, which provides a powerful tool to study gene function in C. elegans. Meanwhile, C. elegans fed with this new strain are phenotypically indistinguishable from those fed OP50, which allows scientists to compare gene knockdown results with previous knowledge. This new strain provides a potent tool for the C. elegans research community to manipulate gene expression while avoiding differential diet effects. This bacteria-engineering strategy can also be implemented in other bacteria strains for RNAi delivery.


  • This new OP50 strain allows flexible manipulation of gene expression while avoiding differential diet effects in C. elegance research.
  • This bacteria-engineering strategy can be applied to other types of bacteria strains for RNAi delivery.


  • This technology avoids the discrepancy between the commonly used bacteria diet strain and the RNAi delivery bacteria strain, which allows fair comparison of results from RNAi experiment and previous knowledge.
  • This technology does not require change in experiment procedures or settings, which allows easy adaption.
  • This technology is mature and can be implemented for commercialization in a short period of time.