Changes in Embryonic Development through Evolution: Gene Expression in Cnidarian Embryos

Posted 1 year ago by Marc Servetnick

School(s) : STEM
Primary PI Name : Marc Servetnick
Email : Mds56@uw.edu
Phone : 425-352-3753
Project/Faculty Website : https://www.uwb.edu/biological-sciences/faculty/biology/mservetnick
Research Location : UW Bothell
Project Goals : All animals use a similar set of genes to direct embryonic development. This ‘toolkit’ of genes, while conserved, produces incredibly diverse animals, from jellyfish to elephants. We want to understand how the roles of specific genes have changed during evolution, allowing different kinds of bodies to be built from similar sets of genes. In vertebrate embryos a family of genes (called Tbx genes) is critical for the formation of mesoderm, one of the three germ layers that form embryos. Tbx genes are present in cnidarians, which lack mesoderm. Understanding the role that Tbx genes play in cnidarians may help to shed light on the origin and evolution of mesoderm. As a first approach to this question, we will determine where and when Tbx genes, and the genes that they activate, are expressed during development of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.
Student Qualifications : -Students must have completed Intro Biology -Students must be patient: things will go slowly at first, as we get the lab up and running
Student Responsibilities : Students will feed and monitor lab cultures of Nematostella, induce spawning, culture, collect and fix embryos at various stages of development for analysis. Students will also carry out molecular analyses and in situ hybridization to determine where and when members of the Tbx gene family are expressed during development.
Time Frame : Minimum 9 hrs per week.

  • School(s) : STEM
  • Primary PI Name : Marc Servetnick
  • Interested? Contact Faculty Researcher by Email : Mds56@uw.edu
  • Phone : 425-352-3753
  • Project/Faculty Website : https://www.uwb.edu/biological-sciences/faculty/biology/mservetnick
  • Research Location : UW Bothell
  • Project Goals : All animals use a similar set of genes to direct embryonic development. This ‘toolkit’ of genes, while conserved, produces incredibly diverse animals, from jellyfish to elephants. We want to understand how the roles of specific genes have changed during evolution, allowing different kinds of bodies to be built from similar sets of genes. In vertebrate embryos a family of genes (called Tbx genes) is critical for the formation of mesoderm, one of the three germ layers that form embryos. Tbx genes are present in cnidarians, which lack mesoderm. Understanding the role that Tbx genes play in cnidarians may help to shed light on the origin and evolution of mesoderm. As a first approach to this question, we will determine where and when Tbx genes, and the genes that they activate, are expressed during development of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.
  • Student Qualifications : -Students must have completed Intro Biology -Students must be patient: things will go slowly at first, as we get the lab up and running
  • Student Responsibilities : Students will feed and monitor lab cultures of Nematostella, induce spawning, culture, collect and fix embryos at various stages of development for analysis. Students will also carry out molecular analyses and in situ hybridization to determine where and when members of the Tbx gene family are expressed during development.
  • Number of Student Positions Available : 2
  • Time Frame : Minimum 9 hrs per week.