Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

W. William Walthall - Chair

Second Advisor

Therese M. Poole

Third Advisor

Malcolm Zellars


The over-expression of Down syndrome cell adhesion molecules (DSCAMs) is partially responsible for the mental retardation associated with Down syndrome. Previous work in our lab showed that a DSCAM homolog in C. elegans, Y32G9A.8, is expressed at all developmental stages and appears to be crucial for survival. In an effort to map the expression pattern, I used the Genome Sciences Centre’s primer design program ( to design a GFP promoter fusion product that was used to monitor gene expression. The results indicate that Y32G9A.8 is expressed in the animal’s gut, suggesting that it may function in the worm’s innate immune response. I also designed a primer set to amplify the Y32G9A.8 transcript. RT-PCR of the entire Y32G9A.8 coding region resulted in a single product; there appears to be no alternative splicing. Although this gene shows homology to other N-CAMS, results indicate that this gene may function in the innate immune system of C. elegans.


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