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Now Nathan Schroeder, assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I and leader of the previous study, has shown that gonad development also varies in other nematodes relative to C. elegans. Specifically, he and graduate student Hung Xuan Bui focused on Steinernema carpocapsae, a nematode used in insect biocontrol applications in lawns and gardens.
The gonads in all nematodes develop within a structure called the gonad arm, a tube through which multiple reproductive organs migrate into place throughout the animal's postembryonic development. This happens in a highly predictable manner in C. elegans, with very low variability among individuals. Not so with Steinernema.
Schroeder - Finding - Examples - Variability - Species
Schroeder says finding and understanding examples of variability within and among species can help scientists understand how diversity arises, an open question with relevance to evolution and genetic processes.
But it also has practical applications, especially in this species.
Issues - Terms - Commercialization - Steinernema - Biocontrol
"One of the issues in terms of commercialization of Steinernema biocontrol products is being able to produce a lot of them," he says. "Can we somehow increase the overall reproductive output of these animals? Understanding more about the gonad development, where babies are actually being made, might move us in that direction."
Aside from showing that Steinernema development differs from C. elegans, the study also represents an advancement in terms of studying organisms whose development occurs almost entirely inside another organism.
Roundworms - Millimeter - Tails
These tiny roundworms, less than a millimeter long, stand upright on their tails and...
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