Welcome to the Fitch Lab


Department of Biology

New York University

100 Washington Square East, Greenwich Village

New York, NY 10003, USA

The Fitch Lab

How do genes produce biological form?

    To determine how genes make forms, we study the morphogenesis (generation of shape) of the male tail tip of the nematode (roundworm) Caenorhabditis elegans.

    The 4 tail tip cells dramatically change their shape during the last larval stage of male development. Many of the genes governing tail tip morphogenesis are the same as in more complex systems, making the tail tip a good model for dissecting this important process in depth. Because the same cells in females do not change shape, the tail tip is also a great model for understanding how sexual dimorphism is produced.

    [To see more about male tail tip morphogenesis, click here.]

How do evolutionary changes produce diversity in form?

    To determine how evolutionary changes produce diversity, we study the male tails of species related to C. elegans in the nematode suborder Rhabditina.

    We study how morphogenesis differs among the species at the cellular level. In some species (like C. elegans), male tail tips become rounded, but in other species, male tail tips remain pointed in adults. Inferring the evolutionary changes requires that we also elucidate the phylogenetic relationships among these species.

    [To see more about Rhabditina systematics, click here.]

    [To see more about the evolution of male tail development, click here.]



  1. MTTdb — all genes involved in male tail tip morphogenesis

  2. RhabditinaDB — rhabditid nematodes: taxonomy and systematics

  3. Worm Systematics Resource Network (WSRN) — synonymies of rhabditid strain designations from different labs (legacy database)

Living Collections

  1. NYU Rhabditid Collection (NYURC) — >150 rhabditid species

  2. StrainsC. elegans mutants and genetic constructs in the Fitch lab

Scientific Resources