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Rapid measurement of ageing by automated monitoring of movement of C. elegans populations

Zavagno, Giulia; Raimundo, Adelaide; Kirby, Andy; Saunter, Christopher; Weinkove, David

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Giulia Zavagno
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Adelaide Raimundo

Andy Kirby

Christopher Saunter


Finding new interventions that slow ageing and maintain human health is a huge challenge of our time. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans offers a rapid in vivo method to determine whether a compound extends its 2 to 3-week lifespan. Measuring lifespan is the standard method to monitor ageing, but a compound that extends lifespan will not necessarily maintain health. Here, we describe the automated monitoring of C. elegans movement from early to mid-adulthood as a faster healthspan-based method to measure ageing. Using the WormGazer™ technology, multiple Petri dishes each containing several C. elegans worms are imaged simultaneously and non-invasively by an array of cameras that can be scaled easily. This approach demonstrates that most functional decline in C. elegans occurs during the first week of adulthood. We find 7 days of imaging is sufficient to measure the dose-dependent efficacy of sulfamethoxazole to slow ageing, compared to 40 days required for a parallel lifespan experiment. Understanding any negative consequences of interventions that slow ageing is important. We show that the long-lived mutant age-1(hx546) stays active for longer than the wild type but it moves slower in early adulthood. Thus, continuous analysis of movement can rapidly identify interventions that slow ageing while simultaneously revealing any negative effects on health.


Zavagno, G., Raimundo, A., Kirby, A., Saunter, C., & Weinkove, D. (2023). Rapid measurement of ageing by automated monitoring of movement of C. elegans populations. GeroScience,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 8, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2023
Journal GeroScience
Print ISSN 2509-2715
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords C. elegans, Healthspan, Automation, Metrics, Lifespan, Ageing
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Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (3.7 Mb)


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