Date of Award

8-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Laura L. Carruth

Abstract

The Australian Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is an important animal model for vertebrate development and behavior. New research initiatives in the fields of epigenetics rely heavily on injecting hormones and environmental toxins directly into the eggs of different bird species such as zebra finches and other passerine songbirds to replicate the effects maternal condition on offspring. However, the widely used method of egg-injections does not accurately replicate physiological conditions, as the injected substances remain concentrated at the injection site for extended periods and do not diffuse into the developing tissues. Therefore, we propose an alternative method to injection protocols that takes advantage of the porous nature of eggs. Corticosterone (CORT), a major vertebrate stress hormone, dissolved in ethyl alcohol was applied to the surface of zebra finch eggs daily. The effect of this treatment on decreasing hatching success shows that topical hormonal treatments are a viable alternative to egg injection.

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