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Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Although the use of vertebrate and tissue culture systems continue to provide valuable insight into the pathology of the neurodegeneration, the molecular determinants involved in the etiology of the disease remain elusive. Because of the high conservation of genes and metabolic pathways between invertebrates and humans, as well as the availability of genetic strategies to identify novel proteins, protein interactions and drug targets, genetic analysis using invertebrate model systems has enormous potential in deducing the factors involved in neuronal disease. In this article, we discuss the opportunities for the use of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) for gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms and pathways involved in PD.