Basic Demography of <I>Caenorhabditis remanei</I> Cultured under Standard Laboratory Conditions


  • S. Anaid Diaz
  • Jan Lindstrom
  • Daniel T. Haydon


Caenorhabditis remanei, ecology, lifecycle, JU724, MY12-G, phenotypic variance


Species of the Caenorhabditis genus have been used as model systems in genetics and molecular research for more than 30 years. Despite this, basic information about their demography, in the wild and in the lab, has remained unknown until very recently. Here, we provide for the first time a closely quantified life-cycle of the gonochoristic nematode C. remanei. Using C. elegans protocols, modified for an outcrossing nematode, we estimated the basic demography for individuals of two strains (JU724 and MY12-G) which were recently isolated from the wild. We used a half-sib breeding design to estimate the phenotypic variance of traits of related (within line) and unrelated individuals (between lines) of the two strains cultured in a common environment in the lab. Comparisons between these strains showed that JU724 was characterized by significantly lower overall lifetime fecundity and by differences in age-specific fecundity relative to MY12-G, but there were no differences in their life expectancy and reproductive lifespan. We found high phenotypic variance among all traits. The variance within lines was relatively high compared to the low variation between lines. We suggest this could be the result of high gene flow in these wild-type strains. Finally, comparisons between species suggest that, despite the differences in reproductive strategies (i.e., sex ratios, lifetime fecundity), C. remanei has developmental time similar to the hermaphroditic N2 strain of C. elegans.