Important Notes and Acknowledgements


What is the Worm Systematics Resource Network?
What the Worm Systematics Resource Network is not.
Unique strain designations should be used, uniquely.
A note about the taxonomic names used.
Additional contributions are welcome.
Other resources.
Deficiencies in this database.

The Worm Systematics Resource Network is a group of people with laboratories that maintain living stocks of nematodes. Through their generosity and cooperative spirit, these researchers and educators have made this resource available to the general scientific community for comparative biology, systematics, population biology and education. Because much of this material is UNPUBLISHED and the stocks listed in this database are used in the research initiatives of the investigators who keep them, it is essential to the integrity of this network that people requesting stocks kindly respect the conditions under which these stocks are made available. Any commercial interests should certainly be discussed with these researchers. [Return to top of page.]

The Worm Systematics Resource Network is NOT YET a complete database for nomenclature, only for STRAIN DESIGNATIONS. The database is currently just a means to find strains of particular species and their strain designations (along with a synonymization of all other strain designations that have been used previously for any particular strain). Species binomens will change as information accumulates, but the official strain designations will stay forever. In fact, many of the species binomens used in this database are in many cases NOT (yet) officially recognized. (Although the material on at least the Rhabditidae is being organized into a comprehensive monograph, this work is by no means finished, and is likely to change further.) Especially with the taxonomy of this group in such a fluid state, it is essential to maintain some kind of unique, constant identifier for strains (indeed, for any biological materials) that are used by different investigators for different studies. This is the only way that consistency can be assured among different studies. Therefore, please use ONLY the unique, "senior" strain designation. The species binomens used are only of secondary importance. [Return to top of page.]

Such a unique, senior designation has been specified for each strain; a list of junior strain synonyms has also been provided for reference purposes. I can only hope that I have not slighted anyone too much by reducing their strain designations to junior synonyms, an action for which I humbly apologize (but do not regret). In making these assignments, I have sought to minimize the impact of changing strain designations, especially for strains that already appear to have a broad distribution among different laboratories (e.g., those currently distributed by the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center). To minimize confusion, only the senior designations should be used whenever the strains are passed from lab to lab. For more information regarding strain nomenclature, please consult the guidelines suggested by Emmons et al. (1994, Worm Breeders Gazette 13(4):32). The importance of maintaining unique strain designations is magnified by the fact that the taxonomy will evolve as more data accumulate. [Return to top of page.]

With regard to the names of taxonomic units used in this database, it must be noted that many of these names are not officially recognized. Those that are officially recognized generally have the author's name appended to the binomen (i.e., in the form: Genus species Author, Date of description). Authors' names that come directly after the name of a species are the authors who originally described that species. Parentheses enclosing such a name indicates that the species was originally described under a different binomen. When another author's name is then listed following these parentheses, this indicates that this taxonomist changed the original binomen to the binomen shown. If there is no other author listed after the parentheses, then I am probably changing the original binomen to the one shown; but this is NOT AN OFFICIAL TAXONOMIC ACT. I have done this only to maintain some sort of taxonomic consistency throughout the database, which would have been difficult otherwise. If a second author is listed after the first author, but the second author's name is placed in parentheses, this author changed a part of the species name that is not a part of the binomen per se (e.g., the author may have designated a new subgenus or subspecies). Please note that a complete taxonomic synonymy has NOT yet been provided, but is intended for a future update.

Additional contributions to this database are welcomed. Contributors who maintain nonredundant collections should obtain a laboratory designation (generally in the form of 3 capital letters) from the CGC. Strain information should be kept as detailed as possible (the format of this database may serve as a minimal guideline). This database will eventually include an electronic form for submitting information electronically. Information can also be sent to me by more conventional means at any time (e.g., by E-mail). [Return to top of page.]

Other resources that provide important information in conjunction with this database include Paul De Ley and Mark Blaxter's Wormwood Internet site (a list of individuals involved or interested in worm systematics or comparative biology with links to other important sites). Of course, the CGC is the major strain database and depository for Caenorhabditis strains, but is also becoming a major repository for additional bacteriophagous nematode strains. [Return to top of page.]

Lastly (but importantly), there are certain deficiencies that will need to be addressed in subsequent versions of this database:

  1. No C. elegans wild type strains are listed! Fortunately, the CGC maintains an excellent database on these strains.
  2. The taxonomic hierarchy used as a structure for part of this database is only a very rough one. Firstly, only taxa represented by living strains are currently listed. Future versions may list unrepresented groups with the intention of showing where deficiencies exist in the collections. Secondly, only Classes, Orders, Families and Binomens have been listed. Additional levels, such as Subfamilies or Suborders are not included for the main reason that the systematics at these levels seems rather tenuous at this point, despite a great deal of work (though much remains to be accomplished). For this reason, species (binomens) are listed alphabetically for each family represented, instead of being ordered according to lower-level taxonomic assemblages.
  3. Not all strains have been positively identified to the species level (or even to the genus or family level). Indeed, some strains are likely to represent species that are new to science. Some strains may also be misidentified. These problems will only be rectified given time, and are somewhat exacerbated by currently low levels of funding and paucity of personnel.
  4. Finally, factual errors (as well as typographical errors) may exist in the data presented for each strain. It is quite possible that I have misinterpreted, mistyped or otherwise unintentionally misrepresented data associated with particular strains. Any help offered with regard to corrections, clarifications, additions or suggestions (especially from those with first-hand familiarity with any of the listed strains) would be greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed.
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