The nematode worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans is not much to look at. Just a millimeter long and transparent to boot, it is almost invisible to the naked eye. But in biological research the tiny worm looms large, providing a model system for studying everything from embryonic development to aging. Now, three researchers who pioneered the use of C. elegans as a model organism have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The Genetics Society of America's (GSA) Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal honors researchers for lifetime achievement in genetics. The recipient of the 2018 Morgan Medal, Barbara J. Meyer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, is recognized for her career-long, groundbreaking investigations of how chromosome behaviors are controlled. Meyer's work has revealed mechanisms of sex determination and dosage compensation in <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> that continue to serve as the foundation of diverse areas of study on chromosome structure and function today, nearly 40 years after she began her work on the topic.