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Counting Mutagenized Genomes and Optimizing Genetic Screens in Caenorhabditis elegans

By Shai Shaham


In genetic screens, the number of mutagenized gametes examined is an important parameter for evaluating screen progress, the number of genes of a given mutable phenotype, gene size, cost, and labor. Since genetic screens often entail examination of thousands or tens of thousands of animals, strategies for optimizing genetics screens are important for minimizing effort while maximizing the number of mutagenized gametes examined. To date, such strategies have not been described for genetic screens in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Here we review general principles of genetic screens in C. elegans, and use a modified binomial strategy to obtain a general expression for the number of mutagenized gametes examined in a genetic screen. We use this expression to calculate optimal screening parameters for a large range of genetic screen types. In addition, we developed a simple online genetic-screen-optimization tool that can be used independently of this paper. Our results demonstrate that choosing the optimal F2-to-F1 screening ratio can significantly improve screen efficiency

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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