A high-throughput assay for the prediction of chemical toxicity by automated phenotypic profiling of Caenorhabditis elegans Academic Article uri icon


  • Applying toxicity testing of chemicals in higher order organisms, such as mice or rats, is time-consuming and expensive, due to their long lifespan and maintenance issues. On the contrary, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has advantages to make it an ideal choice for toxicity testing: a short lifespan, easy cultivation, and efficient reproduction. Here, we describe a protocol for the automatic phenotypic profiling of C. elegans in a 384-well plate. The nematode worms are cultured in a 384-well plate with liquid medium and chemical treatment, and videos are taken of each well to quantify the chemical influence on 33 worm features. Experimental results demonstrate that the quantified phenotype features can classify and predict the acute toxicity for different chemical compounds and establish a priority list for further traditional chemical toxicity assessment tests in a rodent model.


  • Gao, Shan
  • Chen, Weiyang
  • Zhang, Nan
  • Xu, Chi
  • Jing, Haiming
  • Zhang, Wenjing
  • Han, Gaochao
  • Flavel, Matthew
  • Jois, Markandeya
  • Zeng, Yingxin
  • Han, Jing-Dong J
  • Xian, Bo
  • Li, Guojun

publication date

  • 2019