2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Establishing Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model for Neural Tube Defects
Bridget C. Waller* and Kassi L. Crocker
Dr. Timothy D. Walston, Faculty Mentor

The exact causes of most neural tube defects (NTDs) remain unknown. The disabling birth defect spina bifida, however, may result from a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, including alcohol consumption early in pregnancy. The transparent epidermis of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans displays similar cell movements to what is seen in the vertebrate neural tube. The ease of embryonic study makes C. elegans a tractable model to understand the mechanisms that affect cell migration. Therefore, the goal of this project is to establish C. elegans as a model for NTDs through studying the embryonic defects that result from alcohol exposure. In this experiment, C. elegans embryos exposed in utero to 300 mM alcohol, equivalent to a BAC of 0.075, experienced a lethality rate of 47.25% (n=3200). Currently, transgenic SU93 embryos expressing the protein AJM-1::GFP are being examined using confocal microscopy to determine the stage of flawed development.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans , Neural tube defects, Alcohol

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 112-3
Location: MG 1098
Time: 8:45

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