Summary. The review is devoted to nematodes Caenorhabditis elegans and possibilities of their use in biomedical studies. Described by Russell and Burch in late 60’s the 3Rs Principle has been considered as generally accepted world standard which makes it possible to reduce the number of laboratory animals used. In accordance with this Principle, the interest of researchers to invertebrate models has increased. One of the most commonly used model is free-living nematodes Caenorhabditis elegans. Over the past 40 years of intensive research, the secrets of its genetics, physiology, anatomy and behavior have been revealed. The exact number of nerve cells in its nervous system is known (302), the synaptic structure of the nervous system, and each of its neurons has been fully studied by electron microscopy. The genome of this nematode was fully studied in 1998. General plan of body type is basically the same as majority of higher animals: elongated body has bilateral symmetry and consists of ordinary tissues (nerves, muscles, intestines, skin). Adults are represented by two forms - hermaphrodites and males. In automixis homozygous offspring mainly arise. The full development cycle is about 3 days. Caenorhabditis elegans as a model object for biomedical sttudies has several advantages over mammalian animal models: they are cheap and easy to use, they have a short life cycle and possibility of a large-sample, there are no bioethical limitations. The importance of this organism for scientific progress is emphasized by three Nobel Prizes awarded in the 21st century. Nematodes C. elegans as a model object are used to study the main biological, genetic and physiological processes that are common to all animals, as a model for various human diseases, as well as to develop and test therapeutic agents for these diseases. C. elegans are widely used in preclinical studies for assessing genotoxicity, permeability, drug efficacy, nanoparticle toxicity, and study of neurotoxicity of various compounds.
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