Decision-making by nematodes in complex microfluidic mazes
Santosh Pandey, Andrew Joseph, Roy Lycke, Archana Parashar
DOI: 10.4236/abb.2011.26060   PDF    HTML   XML   5,145 Downloads   9,957 Views   Citations


Nematodes are microscopic, soil-dwelling worms that navigate through soil particles in search of food or a suitable host. Most nematode species employ a myriad of physical and chemical cues that define their navigation strategies. Here, we demonstrate a microfluidic method to observe and characterize the physical aspects of nematode navigation at real-time. The microfluidic devices comprise a series of interconnected T-maze or cylindrical structures of varying geometry. At each physical intersection, nematodes are given the choice to migrate left or right. We found that this decision-making of nematodes is influenced by the angle of intersection of T-maze structures. We further showed that nematodes can be passively directed to move in a linear direction by carefully adjusting the position and spacing of cylindrical obstacles in its path. The experiments were conducted on two nematodes (non-parasitic C. elegans and pigparasitic Oesophagostomum dentatum) and in the absence of any chemical or electrical stimulants.

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Pandey, S. , Joseph, A. , Lycke, R. and Parashar, A. (2011) Decision-making by nematodes in complex microfluidic mazes. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 2, 409-415. doi: 10.4236/abb.2011.26060.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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