Microfluidic-Assisted Caenorhabditis elegans Sorting: Current Status and Future Prospects

Hang Yuan, Wenwen Yuan, Sixuan Duan, Keran Jiao, Quan Zhang, Eng Gee Lim, Min Chen, Chun Zhao, Peng Pan, Xinyu Liu, Pengfei Song*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has been a popular model organism for several decades since its first discovery of the huge research potential for modeling human diseases and genetics. Sorting is an important means of providing stage- or age-synchronized worm populations for many worm-based bioassays. However, conventional manual techniques for C. elegans sorting are tedious and inefficient, and commercial complex object parametric analyzer and sorter is too expensive and bulky for most laboratories. Recently, the development of lab-on-a-chip (microfluidics) technology has greatly facilitated C. elegans studies where large numbers of synchronized worm populations are required and advances of new designs, mechanisms, and automation algorithms. Most previous reviews have focused on the development of microfluidic devices but lacked the summaries and discussion of the biological research demands of C. elegans, and are hard to read for worm researchers. We aim to comprehensively review the up-to-date microfluidic-assisted C. elegans sorting developments from several angles to suit different background researchers, i.e., biologists and engineers. First, we highlighted the microfluidic C. elegans sorting devices' advantages and limitations compared to the conventional commercialized worm sorting tools. Second, to benefit the engineers, we reviewed the current devices from the perspectives of active or passive sorting, sorting strategies, target populations, and sorting criteria. Third, to benefit the biologists, we reviewed the contributions of sorting to biological research. We expect, by providing this comprehensive review, that each researcher from this multidisciplinary community can effectively find the needed information and, in turn, facilitate future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0011
JournalCyborg and Bionic Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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