Fluorescent markers highlight cell boundaries (red) and DNA (green).

Form reveals function—at least in this gonad from an adult C. elegans. Here, fluorescent markers highlight cell boundaries (red) and DNA (green). To predict what many of the worm's essential genes do, researchers first silenced genes and then looked for phenotypic changes in the gonad structure. By grouping genes with similar effects, they were able to predict gene function across a range of cellular processes. Their new technique could provide important clues to the function of similar genes in humans.

Featured in the May 18, 2011, issue of Biomedical Beat.