Large-scale gene expression pattern analysis, in situ, in Caenorhabditis elegans
Observation of gene expression in situ provides a direct connection between the genetic information in the genome sequence and the fully determined developmental cell lineage of Caenorhabditis elegans. Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) reporters have been fused with many C. elegans genes, in large-scale projects, by conventional DNA ligation, PCR stitching, Gateway recombination and recombineering. These reporter gene fusions have then been used in C. elegans transformation either by microinjection or microprojectile bombardment. So far, the developmental distributions of GFP, as driven by the C. elegans DNA to which the reporter gene has been attached, have been determined simply from direct examination of the transgenic strains by epifluorescence microscopy. Automation of GFP expression pattern determination promises improvements in both quality and quantity of this data type, facilitating the handling of such expression pattern data within computer databases. As with the descriptions of the developmental cell lineage and the genome sequence, a complete description of gene expression patterns will provide a vital knowledge framework through which a full understanding of the development of this animal can emerge.