The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
is a powerful model organism that has been widely used to study molecular biology, cell development, neurobiology, and aging. Despite their use for the past several decades, the conventional techniques for growth, imaging, and behavioral analysis of C. elegans
can be cumbersome, and acquiring large data sets in a high-throughput manner can be challenging. Developments in microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” technologies have improved studies of C. elegans
by increasing experimental control and throughput. Microfluidic features such as on-chip control layers, immobilization channels, and chamber arrays have been incorporated to develop increasingly complex platforms that make experimental techniques more powerful. Genetic and chemical screens are performed on C. elegans
to determine gene function and phenotypic outcomes of perturbations, to test the effect that chemicals have on health and behavior, and to find drug candidates. In this review, we will discuss microfluidic technologies that have been used to increase the throughput of genetic and chemical screens in C. elegans
. We will discuss screens for neurobiology, aging, development, behavior, and many other biological processes. We will also discuss robotic technologies that assist in microfluidic screens, as well as alternate platforms that perform functions similar to microfluidics.
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