Introduction

All living organisms obtain information about their environment, process it and respond with behavioral output. Often, but not exclusively, information processing is performed by networks of neurons in the brain. However, studying complex brains is extremely challenging both conceptually and technically. Fortunately, some model systems exhibit non-trivial behavioral patterns that are governed by neuronal circuits of limited size. A handful of such identifiable neurons are ideal for a detailed scrutiny on multiple levels: from circuitry to individual molecules within a single cell. These small systems can potentially facilitate an understanding of basic principles of neural information processing and the regulation of behavior. In other words, it can be reasonably argued that C. elegans is a promising candidate for the title "the phage of neuroscience" (or "the hydrogen atom of neuroscience", if you will).

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