UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type

Article Preprint


Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Genetics and Genomics | Physiological Processes | Systems and Integrative Physiology


In our group, we aim to understand metabolism in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and its relationships with gene expression, physiology and the response to therapeutic drugs. On March 15, 2020, a stay-at-home order was put into effect in the state of Massachusetts, USA, to flatten the curve of the spread of the novel SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19. For biomedical researchers in our state, this meant putting a hold on experiments for nine weeks until May 18, 2020. To keep the lab engaged and productive, and to enhance communication and collaboration, we embarked on an in-lab project that we all found important but that we never had the time for: the detailed annotation and drawing of C. elegans metabolic pathways. As a result, we present WormPaths, which is composed of two parts: 1) the careful manual annotation of metabolic genes into pathways, categories and levels, and 2) 66 pathway maps that include metabolites, metabolite structures, genes, reactions, and pathway connections between maps. These maps are available on our WormFlux website. We show that WormPaths provides easy-to-navigate maps and that the different levels in WormPaths can be used for metabolic pathway enrichment analysis of transcriptomic data. In the unfortunate event of additional lockdowns, we envision further developing these maps to be more interactive, with an analogy of road maps that are available on mobile devices.


Genetics, metabolism, metabolic pathways, Caenorhabditis elegans, WormPaths

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The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International license.

DOI of Published Version



bioRxiv 2020.12.22.424026; doi: Link to preprint on bioRxiv.


This article is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review.

Related Resources

Now published in Genetics doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyab089

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License