Towards a fully virtual C. elegans

Mitchell Porter mitch at
Sat Jan 31 07:52:04 EST 1998

Hello C. elegans researchers,

I've just been having a browse around the web resources
describing C. elegans, and was inspired by the Parts index
( to conceive of
a few further steps that could be taken towards a fully
virtual C. elegans.

i) Morphogenesis server.

See each stage in C. elegans morphogenesis on a string of
web pages, so that you can click your way from the zygote
to the adult organism - and at each stage, each cell should
also be clickable, leading to a page describing that cell type
(histology, lineage, etc).

ii) Morphogenesis simulator.

A *program* that will reproduce the morphogenetic stages
described, just given the appropriate initial conditions
(i.e. a zygote). I'm not sure of the appropriate level
of abstraction here, i.e. how cellular states should be
described. Presumably this simulation would have some
stochastic aspect to it.

iii) Simulated adult organism. Simulated populations.

As in (ii), but here one wants to be able to see what's
going on in each cell as an adult organism moves through
a simulated environment. Reproduction and nervous system
processes would be of particular interest.

It seems to me that (i) would be a straightforwardly
useful resource to create. The relevance of (ii) and
(iii) is a little less clear; they would probably be of
most interest to people like those over at


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