UBC Undergraduate Research

Do Caenorhabditis elegans exhibit spatial learning? Using a t-maze to explore association of a spatial environment with an attractant Law, Jackie WY


This study investigated spatial learning in Caenorabditis elegans; the ability to associate reinforcing cues with a location. Naive, wildtype C. elegans were trained in a microfluidic t-maze in the presence of diacetyl (a volatile attractant associated with food) and subsequently tested to see if they could associate diacetyl with one arm of the t-maze. 70-80% of the subjects chemotaxed towards diacetyl during training phase, but they randomly chose left or right when diacetyl was absent (number of subjects that chose diacetyl being under 65%). From our experiments, it is unlikely that the worms are associating diacetyl with one arm of the t-maze, but appears to be using some component of the atmosphere as a cue.

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