Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological and Environmental Sciences (MSBES)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Steven Irvine

Abstract

Solitary and colonial ascidians show heterochrony in the development of adult organs. This project is a first step towards reproducing this heterochronic shift using Ciona intestinalis as a model and gaining insight into the number of genes involved in this process. In the first part of this thesis, an inducible transgene was constructed to reproduce the shift. The transgene was designed with a heat shock protein (HSP70) promoter to induce the expression of a gene at any time in development. A control transgene was constructed, but after two experiments, the transgene did not show the ability to be induced. With a possible mutation in the promoter, future experiments will address this issue and create a functional inducible transgene. The second part of this project describes the development of an easy and reliable protocol for inducing early metamorphosis. Potassium chloride (KCl) and heat shock were used to induce early metamorphosis in the solitary ascidian, Ciona intestinalis. KCl alone was unable to induce early metamorphosis. The heat shock experiments look to be a promising way to induce early metamorphosis. To create a reliable protocol, more trials need to be performed.

Comments

Solitary and colonial ascidians show heterochrony in the development of adult organs. This project is a first step towards reproducing this heterochronic shift and gaining insight into the number of genes in this process. An inducible transgene was constructed to reproduce the shift. The transgene was designed with a heat shock protein (HSP70) promoter to induce the expression of a gene at any time in development. A control transgene was constructed, but after two experiments, the transgene did not show the ability to be induced. With a possible mutation in the promoter, future experiments will address this issue and create a functional inducible transgene. The second part of this project is the development of an easy and reliable protocol for inducing early metamorphosis. Potassium chloride (KCl) and heat shock were used to induce early metamorphosis in the solitary ascidian, Ciona intestinalis. KCl was unable to induce early metamorphosis. The heat shock experiments look to be a promising way to induce early metamorphosis. To create a reliable protocol, more trials need to be performed.

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