C. elegans EMS Mutagenesis Service

Ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) is an alkylating agent, and its mutagenic properties were first demonstrated using the T4 viral system in 1959. The mutation spectrum of EMS has been examined in many model systems, including in C. elegans. EMS mutagenesis is high, unbiased mutagenicity with low mortality. With its relatively low toxicity and relatively good efficiency, EMS is the most commonly used chemical mutagen to mutate the genome of C. elegans and the most potent at the present.

How EMS Works

As an alkylating reagent, EMS reacts with guanine, adding an ethyl group to form O6-ethylguanine. In subsequent replications, DNA polymerases preferentially mispair thymine, instead of cytosine, with the modified guanine pairs. Besides, the generation of these adducts is also subject to DNA repair.

Properties and Advantages of EMS Mutagenesis

  • EMS is an alkylating reagent often used in genetics as a mutagen, and plays roles for teratogenic, and carcinogenic agent.
  • EMS has a preference for G/C to A/T transitions, respectively, especially for the production of typically strong loss-of-function or null alleles.
  • A forward mutation rate of EMS mutagenesis can be achieved as high as 2.5×10−3 mutations/gene/generation with acceptable rates of sterility.
  • The mutagenic targets of EMS are primarily sperm and oocytes.
  • EMS mutagenesis can induce permanent mutation.
  • EMS mutagenesis is suitable for non-essential genes.

Our Services

EMS mutagenesis is a powerful tool to generate a high number of mutations and high-throughput screens to identify mutants with a specific phenotype. Here we offer two genetic screening workflows below.

  • A typical EMS screening: Usually start with phenotypic screening and end with identifying mutation site.
  • Enhancer or suppressor screening: In this case, one can screen for mutations in a known genetic background that enhance or suppress the defined phenotype.

Features of Our Services

  • A scalable high-throughput screening platform
  • Sophisticated mutagenesis techniques.
  • Whole-process technical trace service
  • One-stop solutions.
  • Most competitive prices.

CD BioSciences strives for solutions that improve research outcomes and dramatically improve the speed of success. EMS mutagenesis is one of a series of well-established chemical mutagenesis services. With the help of CD BioSciences, you can generate a high number of mutations and high-throughput screens to identify mutants with a specific phenotype in C. elegans. If you have any demands for genetic screens, please don't hesitate to contact us for more information.


  1. Sin O, et al. (2014). "Genetic screens in Caenorhabditis elegans models for neurodegenerative diseases". Biochim Biophys Acta. 1842(10):1951-1959.
  2. Kutscher LM, Shaham S. (2014). "Forward and reverse mutagenesis in C. elegans". WormBook. 1-26.
  3. Hartman PS, et al. (2014). "Ethyl methanesulfonate induces mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos at a high frequency". Mutat Res. 766-767:44-48.
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