System for automated high-speed imaging and genetic manipulation of C. elegans on agar media

The Need

The microscopic worm C. elegans is a model animal studied in more than 1500 biological and medical research laboratories worldwide due to its genetic manipulability and optical transparency. In C. elegans research, the manual process of picking worms between plates presents a significant bottleneck due to its labor-intensive nature. This crucial step limits the throughput of genetic studies, hindering the progress of numerous scientific investigations.

The Technology

Our advanced robotic system revolutionizes C. elegans research by automating the picking process. Utilizing a fast 6-axis articulated robotic arm and a machine vision system, the system identifies, characterizes, and transfers worms between standard agar plates, greatly enhancing efficiency. It can perform manipulations such as crossing, integration, mapping, and fluorescence sorting with remarkable precision and speed.

Commercial Applications

  • Genetic research and manipulation of C. elegans
  • High-throughput compound screening for drug discovery
  • Accelerated studies in neurobiology and the biology of aging


  • Increased throughput: Operates at up to 10 times the speed of manual picking methods. Can work continuously without operator fatigue.
  • Enhanced accuracy: Utilizes machine vision and capacitive sensing for precise handling.
  • Improved productivity: Streamlines labor-intensive tasks, allowing researchers to focus on high-level tasks such as experimental design, data analysis, and hypothesis testing
  • Facilitates large-scale experiments: Enables the execution of experiments with larger samples sizes and higher power
  • Versatile applications: Suitable for a wide range of genetic and biological studies involving C. elegans

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