ANNOTATION OF THE DOT CHROMOSOME OF DROSOPHILA ERECTA
Christopher Doty and Alexis Smith
Faculty Adviser: Daron Barnard, Ph.D.
The purpose of this research project was to annotate a portion of genetic sequence from the Drosophila erecta (a species of fruit fly) dot chromosome to determine location and putative function of genes in this segment. While gene prediction programs such as Genescan and Twinscan do exist that can and were used to establish a rough outline of possible gene locations, the accuracy of this software is generally rather poor. Gene alignment programs such as BLAST were thus used to compile supporting evidence for the presence of specific genes in D.erecta based on homology with regions in Drosophila melanogaster.
POLLEN OF THE HOLOCENE FROM POUTWATER POND BOG, HOLDEN, MASS.
Faculty Advisers: Peter Bradley, Ph.D., and Adrienne Smyth, M.S.
Pollen from a core sampling of the peat land surrounding Poutwater Pond in Holden, Mass., was isolated,identified, and counted for quantitative analysis using a scanning electron microscope. The peat has been carbon dated and the abundance of different pollen has been determined at different depths. This study has shown changes in vegetation at this site since the end of the last Ice Age.
SUPPRESSION OF SCHISTOSOME GLUCOSE TRANSPORTER PROTEIN (SGTP) GENES USING RNA INTERFERENCE
Faculty Adviser: John Goodchild, Ph.D.
Schistosomiasis is a chronic disease caused by parasitic helminths affecting more than 200 million people worldwide. During its life cycle in the mammalian host, schistosomes express two glucose transporters, SGTP1 and SGTP4. All life stages express SGTP1, whereas SGTP4 is expressed in the intravascular life stages only, an indicator of their importance in the parasite development and hence a potential target for intervention. We used RNA interference (RNAi) to suppress the expression of the schistosome glucose transporter (SGTP) genes in S.mansoni. We have shown that schistosomes are exceedingly susceptible to RNAi at both transcriptional and translational levels. A suppression of messenger RNA (mRNA) expression between 80% and 99% was achieved for both genes. A 60% protein decrease was observed with SGTP4 after 7 days.