Date of Award

1-6-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Walter W. Walthall

Second Advisor

Casonya Johnson

Third Advisor

John Houghton

Abstract

Cellular networks are required for a variety of processes in complex organisms. Caenorhabditis elegans is a useful model to gain insight into the gene regulatory networks that assemble cellular networks. Mutations in a variety of genes can affect the sinusoidal locomotive pattern of C. elegans. We isolated the mutant jd1500 from a standard genetic screen looking for mutants in C. elegans that exhibit asymmetric locomotive patterns. The two aims of this study were to: 1) identify the gene and characterize its role in the gene regulatory network and 2) characterize the cells affected by the mutation. We reasoned that jd1500 likely disrupts the proper balance between dorsal and ventral body wall muscle contractions. By using three-point genetic mapping, we predicted the locus of jd1500 between -9.42 and -11.73 centimorgans of the X chromosome. Our results implicate the embryonic, cholinergic DB motor neurons as likely cellular targets of the mutation.

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