Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Worm Descendants From Columbia Disaster Relaunched

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the they're-delicious-in-space dept.

NASA 80

astroengine writes "In 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on reentry, killing all seven astronauts on board. However, from the wreckage, a sample of C. elegans worms survived. On Monday, descendants from the worms that survived the disaster were launched on board Endeavour for experiments on the space station. 'C. elegans is a common, well-studied organism used in biomedical research as a model for human development, genetics, aging and disease,' says NASA. 'The organism shares many essential biological characteristics found in human biology.'"

cancel ×

80 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Dangerous (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159454)

Let's hope the little bastards didn't cause the crash.

"Take us into zero-g, will you!"

Re:Dangerous (1)

Sp0r (206177) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159474)

Ahhh! Mind Worms! Sid Meier was right!

Re:Dangerous (5, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159572)

We are talking about worms from space. Worms so tough that you can blow them up and have them tumble miles to the ground in a giant collapsing fireball...and they come out basically unharmed.

I don't know whether they caused the crash or not, but I am pretty sure that if they ever turn against us, we're fucked.

Re:Dangerous (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159656)

Not as tough as waterbears, I bet.

Re:Dangerous (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162338)

Those went up on this flight [planetary.org] , too, as part of prep work for a Mars mission from the Planetary Society.

Re:Dangerous (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163602)

Will the zero-G worms vs waterbears fight be streamed live? I would definitely watch that.

Re:Dangerous (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165828)

Waterbears aren't nearly as scary as Pedobears.

Re:Dangerous (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159754)

I've worked with C. elegans before. It gets worse.

They have males and hermaphrodites. The males can fertilize the hermaphrodites, but the hermaphrodites can fertilize themselves as well. This is gross, and as a guy, kind of feels like nature telling me I'm non-essential.

In lab, the worms eat lawns of e.coli. They'll eat up all the bacteria on a petrie dish in a week. If you leave a plate of worms on ecoli and come back a month later, you'll see the worms have made balls of themselves, but are still alive. Worm biologists call that "dauer," and one was trying to explain something about it to me, but all I got out of it was the terrifying fact that even starvation can't kill them.

Holy water does not kill C. elegans. It just makes them sparkle.

Certain mutations cause the worms to be born without neurons. They survive, they're just "uncoordinated." Neurotoxin wouldn't be able to stop them either.

Certain other mutations cause the "bag of worms" phenotype. Remember how I said the hermaphrodites can fertilize themselves? If the worm can fertilize the eggs but not lay them... the embryos will eat their way out. It's like Aliens.

If you want a plate of worms all at the same age, you just soak them in bleach. One stage of development is evidently resistant. To bleach. Bleach even kills ebola. Not C. elegans.

Lastly, scientists have recently discovered that at night, the worms crawl into our eyes and control us like puppets, erasing nearly all evidence of it before dawn.

Re:Dangerous (3, Informative)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159856)

Mod parent traumatizing.

Re:Dangerous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160234)

Parent gets a +1 Informative for being informative.

You get a -1 Troll for having the nerve to try and tell me how I should moderate.

Have a Nice Day.

Re:Dangerous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160892)

And you should be kicked off slashdot for abusing the moderation system.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163020)

Is it so wrong to tell people why I give them the points I do?

Re:Dangerous (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163458)

Yes. Just moderate then join back in the discussion on the next article. Posting comments is borderline taunting in some cases even if that was not your intention.

Have a nice day.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163670)

Fair point, perhaps troll wasn't the best one to use but it looks like that's not a problem now, though it's not informative either - funny if anything. Truth be told, with what seems like a recent increase in spam and general crap here I'm in a bit of a bit mood with /. and when that happens I tend to mod down rather than up.*

I sometimes moderate and post in the same topic: modded posters get replies telling them to have a nice day and if I post a comment of my own I leave that part out. As a matter of principle I don't mod posts that are replies to my own. Ever.

*I'm sorry if I upset creat3d but telling mods how to moderate just bugs the hell out of me. I'm not going to stop modding such things down but in future it'll be offtopic instead; I don't think that does anything to karma. Does it?

Re:Dangerous (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176276)

with what seems like a recent increase in spam and general crap here I'm in a bit of a bit mood with /. and when that happens I tend to mod down rather than up.*

Ah I haven't been here too long myself but I can entirely relate.

modded posters get replies telling them to have a nice day

I usually end with that or cheers... for everyone. Although it is true people are a bit less insulting (in general) to moderators.

I'm not going to stop modding such things down but in future it'll be offtopic instead; I don't think that does anything to karma. Does it?

His comment, like many, is funny. Fortunately funny does not award karma but just makes /. users a tiny bit happier inside (not smarter or more well informed).

Modding funny does not affect karma and some people can choose to filter it if they want to read intelligence instead of a stream of jokes... this is what other people have told me in the past so take it with a grain of salt.

Personally I believe if you have the will to reply to my comment and to moderate good, you sir are ahead of 95%+ of the users here.

cheers and good night.

Re:Dangerous (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161932)

Ok, if that's how it works you get -1 for posting anonymously. At least I can take it.

Re:Dangerous (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159882)

The males can fertilize the hermaphrodites, but the hermaphrodites can fertilize themselves as well. This is gross, and as a guy, kind of feels like nature telling me I'm non-essential.

Check this [sciencedaily.com] out about boas. I sometimes wonder if we're just PWBs. Parasites With Benefits

Re:Dangerous (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161062)

You're not a male worm or snake, though.

You're supposed to be strong, with stamina, and intelligence/perception of surroundings that is beyond that of the female. Your job is to better provide for her and the offspring you've created.

Females and Males of the same species are still different organisms genetically. The species is carried forward, in our case, on the backs of both sexes.

I hope I don't get bashed for giving our scientifically deduced roles, lol.

Re:Dangerous (1)

casi0qv (1184909) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161222)

While you're correct that men are stronger than women, "intelligence/perception of surroundings that is beyond that of the female" is a sexist claim with no scientific basis.

Re:Dangerous (1)

casi0qv (1184909) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161266)

Instead of "are" I should say tend to be... I've met several women whom were stronger than most men.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163598)

While the above poster is being silly with the comments about perception and intelligence for the most part it does seem that men are more adapted to visually scanning an area for movement, while women have superior hearing. As for concrete differences between the sexes it's worth remembering that the world record for womens sprinting is commonly beaten on highschool tracks by sixteen year old males while women retain humanity's incredible ability to distance run. The theory being that all fit adults in the social group could be involved in the hunt driving the prey into the line of those younger sprinters who could close the final distance to make the kill.

Re:Dangerous (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36167550)

That was poorly worded, by the way. I meant that mens' intelligence is greater in spatial perception, not as a whole.

Re:Dangerous (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161492)

The only reason males tend to be stronger is to fight other males. A genetic mix between two organisms helps survival (sort of not putting all your genes in one form). As males we are able to insert our DNA into another organism in order to reproduce. While male support after that point is helpful and historically beneficial (for humans) it is not absolutely necessary and could certainly be performed by other females in the community. So my 'Parasites With Benefits' comment.

We're parasites that benefit the host by creating more diversity in offspring than asexual reproduction. ;)

Re:Dangerous (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160104)

Ok, I'm going to need $250,000,000 right away to get "Project Early Bird" up and running... let's just hope we have enough time to breed the correct giant mutant birds.

Re:Dangerous (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162354)

If you set up a Kickstarter campaign, I'm in.

Re:Dangerous (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161042)

C. elegans also exhibit a rare phenomenon called Eutely, where an exact number of cells is produced to make each adult worm. The mapping/division of each and every one of those 959 somatic cells is well known and studied.

Also, to inspire reasearch among more slashdotters, it is really cool to look at them up close because you can directly observe the growth/development of the organism inside the mom along the conveyor-belt-like uterus they have. Each egg along the belt is at a later stage as you progress away from the gonad. You can observe nuclear fusion between sperm/egg, 2-cell, 4-cell, 8-cell, 16-cell, blah cell (32 looks messy), morula, gastrula, etc etc.. It's really cool. In any given mother/herm you can observe several of them. You probably wont see every one from every stage in one mom, but you'll see a few... and all the way up to the living young worm that will come out, hatch from its football-egg pouch, and look just like mom (but smaller).

If you really want to be amazed, look up the image of a C. elegans sperm. It looks like a big slice of pizza! Its flagellae are so little and weak because it has evolved such that the hermie gonads are so close that the big pizza-slice looking sperm just creeps the short distance to where it fertilizes.

Re:Dangerous (1)

casi0qv (1184909) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161194)

The fact that males still exist despite the existence of hermaphrodites shows that they are essential. Sexual reproduction allows for recombination and greater diversity, increasing the ability of the species to adapt to new environments, diseases, or stressors and to eliminate deleterious mutations. Gradual accumulation of deleterious mutations (called "muller's ratchet") often causes species that lack the ability to reproduce sexually (even just occasionally) to go extinct.

Alo, alo ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36164380)

OK, all those reasons are sound, but they also hold for hermaphrodites which would be sexually symmetrical (do bidirectional exchange of genes). What reason makes specialized inseminators superior to more symmetrical model of procreation? Faster rubber-stamping of successful genes?

Re:Dangerous (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161360)

kind of feels like nature telling me I'm non-essential

No, two lesbians with a turkey baster and some David Crosby spoof [britannica.com] does that. Really, can you imagine wanting your kid to look like Crosby. Have you seen that wizened up fucking gnome. But.... come to think of it... if he were a woman he'd look pretty close to Chastity.... wups... Chaz Bono.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36164612)

Last thing I heard, they don't use a turkey baster. They have an applicator that looks like Jodie Foster's knuckles.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161818)

So how do you kill these things?

Re:Dangerous (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162312)

Squish 'em!

Re:Dangerous (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165590)

Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Dangerous (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161976)

"If you want a plate of worms all at the same age, you just soak them in bleach. One stage of development is evidently resistant. To bleach. Bleach even kills ebola. Not C. elegans. "

It's the eggs - they have an eggshell that's more resistant to bleach than the organism. If you let it sit in bleach for an hour it'll eat through the eggshell and kill the embryo, but there's a short period of time where the adult has dissolved but the eggshells are basically intact

"In lab, the worms eat lawns of e.coli. They'll eat up all the bacteria on a petrie dish in a week. If you leave a plate of worms on ecoli and come back a month later, you'll see the worms have made balls of themselves, but are still alive. Worm biologists call that "dauer," and one was trying to explain something about it to me, but all I got out of it was the terrifying fact that even starvation can't kill them."

This is actually two different phenotypes. Bags of worms are because the worm doesn't lay eggs if it's starving. The problem is that if they starve long enough, the eggs will hatch inside the mother, and... start crawling around and eating things. They can't get out because the worm has a strong skin, so until they're able to basically eat a hole out of the skin, they just crawl around inside

Dauer is a completely different and even more bizzare thing - the worm develops from an embryo to an adult in ~3 days normally, and then can survive as an adult for ~2-3 weeks. Without food, though, it halts mid-way in development as a "dauer", which can live for MONTHS with absolutely no food. Then if you give it food, it resumes development normally, becomes an adult, and has perfectly normal offspring

Re:Dangerous (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163966)

Lastly, scientists have recently discovered that at night, the worms crawl into our eyes and control us like puppets, erasing nearly all evidence of it before dawn.

I almost don't believe you.

Re:Dangerous (2)

Nerdos (1960936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36164620)

I've also worked with c.elegans before, and it gets better. You can freeze them in liquid for indefinate amounts of time, and unthaw them and they work great. You can also dessicate them completely, keep them around, again for indefinate amounts of time, then sprinkle some water on them, and they resume crawling and laying eggs. Having murdered about half a million of them in bleach, I'm going to hell. P.s. the bleach resistant part the parent mentioned are eggs. To extract them, you just collect worms, wash them in bleach so they melt away, leaving only eggs (including unlayed ones) .

Re:Dangerous (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165914)

Certain mutations cause the worms to be born without neurons. They survive, they're just "uncoordinated." Neurotoxin wouldn't be able to stop them either.

What about turrets? Can turrets stop them? Or how about thermal discouragement beams?

Re:Dangerous (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36168558)

Just hope they don't have blasters.

Still alive (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36177568)

...and the science gets done & we make a neat gun for the worms that are...still alive.

Re:Dangerous (1)

knghtrider (685985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159756)

eh, if they got too big, just go fishing with them..

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160408)

When these worms' descendants will be called "C++ Elegans", then I'll be really worried.

Re:Dangerous (1)

kmoser (1469707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162648)

"They put little creatures in our ears!"

Not just unharmed (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36164390)

Not just unharmed, some of the worms actually seemed to develop improved abilities after the shuttle crash. One could stretch itself to extreme lengths (though that's not uncommon for worms), another could become transparent. A third could spontaneously burst into flames and a fourth could become a hard rock-like thing. I think it's absolutely fantastic.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170750)

Yes, If C. Elegans tuned against us, we would go blind, and we would starve. C. Elegans is the most studied organism in the world. It has its own journal. Its gene sequence was the first completed and because it is so well known, it also has the most experiments for protein expression.

Worst post title ever. (2, Funny)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159470)

At first I thought it was related to Columbia, the country.
Then I was like, heh, maybe it's about the Worms videogame (Worms: Descendants?)

Finally, after RTFS, I still don't know what this means for space exploration or the earthworms in specific.
I guess this will force some folks to RTFA...

Re:Worst post title ever. (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159480)

I guess this will force some folks to RTFA...

You must be new here.

Re:Worst post title ever. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159498)

Columbia is not a country.

Re:Worst post title ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159566)

Columbia is not a country.

It is if you don't spell it right.

Re:Worst post title ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159718)

Columbia is a country. It is a poetic name for the United States.

Re:Worst post title ever. (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159582)

This is slashdot... now, lets recap: When was spelling a priority? If the answer was anything else than "never", then GTFO.

Ha ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159504)


The worms were saying "Fuck, we dodged a bullet on the Columbia, eh boys? What the fuck? Where are they bringing us? Oh damn."

Nasa doesn't know what to do... (-1, Troll)

madgeekstrikes (2169984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159576)

I mean they rather work this cool satellite [thoughts.com]

Re:Nasa doesn't know what to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159612)

goatse don't look

NASA's feeling pretty cocky (0)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159580)

trying extra-hard to prove that correlation is not causation.

"The last time these worms went up, the shuttle crashed. But we're gonna prove the two facts aren't related! LIFTOFF!"

Re:NASA's feeling pretty cocky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159672)

Space Worms are go!!

PR (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159688)

Is the "descendants" of some apparently pretty common worms that are well studied really worth sending into space? I wouldn't be so anti NASA if they quit wasting our time and money on flat out bullshit. Instead of packing these missions (commercials) with "this is your last chance to do anything meaningful with the shuttle, make it count" type of things we are sprouting seeds in space, watching worms float, and dragging junk up to the ISS cause no one else can (due to contracts, politics and nothing else)

Re:PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159880)

You are a dumbass, aren't you ?
If you had used your brain more than five seconds, you would have realized that for them to be the "descendants" of worms in the shuttle crash, their parents have to be in that damn shuttle.
And, why do you think these worms were put in in the first place ?
Let me help you. Might be because it's of inestimable value to understand how such a resistant organism can survive into space. There are useful technics to learn about how to protect and restore organits and on the way first life evolved.

Next time, before saying any craps and insulting people far more intelligent than you (NASA scientists), just try to think five minutes. These guys don't waste a precious occasion like this one with dull experiments.

Re:PR (1)

theshibboleth (968645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160436)

Studying well-studied critters actually makes a lot of sense as many variables have already been accounted for.

Re:PR (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163648)

and I wonder why tax money goes into trying to educate and keep alive you worthless cum sprouts when you are so incapable of intelligent thought.

Banner Blindness (1)

steevven1 (1045978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159708)

Holy crap. My automatic, summary-summarizing brain routines skipped the title and the clause containing a date (which I guess I unconsciously find unimportant) and read the first sentence as, "Space Shuttle burned up on reentry, killing all seven astronauts on board." Turns out the story was about worms. Phew.

ass worms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159728)

what of anal worms?

"Wreck Once Replicate Many" (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159734)

Sorry...

breeding for luck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159736)

Perhaps they are breeding for luck?

Cave Johnson speaking (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159814)

"First we tried breeding spacemen that could survive a crash. Well, that didn't work. So now we're breeding worms that can survive a crash."

Re:Cave Johnson speaking (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159848)

Maybe they're trying to breed worms that can pilot a spacecraft?

Re:Cave Johnson speaking (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165904)

Then we realized that we had instead created worms that could blow up a goddamned spaceship. On an unrelated note, you will be testing our new "Super Hand Grenade" today. They're pretty slimy to hold, so be careful not to drop them...and if you do drop one, I'd like to remind you again that this job does not include life insurance benefits. If you don't like it, you can always go back to your cardboard house and not get your $60.

This just in... (2)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159954)

When asked about this achievement for C. elegans, the species did not respond, instead opting to reproduce asexual for a period of three to five days.

Red shirts (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160304)

They didn't make the crew wear red shirts again, did they?

A bowl of petunias... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160330)

... somewhere is thinking "Whew, glad I'm not going again."

Re:A bowl of petunias... (1)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162064)

seems improbable. very improbable...

They couldn't worm their way out of that one (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160766)

but as a practical matter, the worms didn't survive a re-entry by themselves. If you threw a handful of worms from orbit down toward the earth, all of them would burn up in the atmosphere and DIE. They survived the Columbia accident because they were encased in some kind of container that didn't get fully vaporized during re-entry.

Re:They couldn't worm their way out of that one (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36168588)

but as a practical matter, the worms didn't survive a re-entry by themselves. If you threw a handful of worms from orbit down toward the earth, all of them would burn up in the atmosphere and DIE. They survived the Columbia accident because they were encased in some kind of container that didn't get fully vaporized during re-entry.

Why didn't they make the whole shuttle out of the material used for the worm container?

Re:They couldn't worm their way out of that one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171208)

But of course, they will taste better fried than frozen. ( The survived in fragments and cracks as well as components. so... they could have made the whole ship out of cracks, but it would have never taken off, or likewise, they could have made the entire ship out of components, but again, it would have never taken off. One sample survived because it was encased in the hinge of the toilet, so If you made an entire shuttle out of the hinge of toilets.... I sh*t you not...)

OH MY GOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161108)

We've put microscopic WORMS in low Earth orbit! Clearly we can build space elevators now! AHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

I'm guessing the astronauts didn't vote on this 1 (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162518)

I sure as heck would have been a solid NO.

Worm's thought bubble (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162752)

Oh Shit Oh Shit Oh Shit

Scientific Classification (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163304)

The classification C. elegans is short for Caenorhabditis elegans(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_elegans). You would normally only abbreviate the genus if you have already written it in its full form (thus first mention should be of Caenorhabditis elegans and all further mentions can be C. elegans. TFA does this, but the summary should mention Caenorhabditis elegans first before launching into abbreviations.

Re:Scientific Classification (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165934)

Welcome to Slashdot, where our editors aren't really "editors" in the traditional sense of the word.

Unbreakable (1)

jdevivre (923797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36164946)

Hmmm. Lone survivors of the crash.
Should we be worried that some super-villainous worm is out there somewhere? Or are they so fragile it doesn't matter?

Earthworm Jim... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36165286)

is that you?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>