Matching Items (65)

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Damage to Salivary Glands in Drosophila melanogaster and Its Effect on Overall Developmental Timing

Description

Virtually all animals require relatively predictable developmental schedules in order to fulfill the cycle of life. Cell death and severe inflammation alter steroid hormone production and can disrupt the timing of developmental transitions such as puberty. In the fruit fly,

Virtually all animals require relatively predictable developmental schedules in order to fulfill the cycle of life. Cell death and severe inflammation alter steroid hormone production and can disrupt the timing of developmental transitions such as puberty. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, injury to wing precursor tissues has been shown to result in decreased steroid hormone levels and delay development. The effects of damage to other tissues have not yet been explored. Here, the larval salivary glands were damaged in order to observe how injuring these specific tissues affect the timing of developmental transitions. Damage was induced by tissue-specific, temperature sensitive activation of cell death genes. The results indicated that death to salivary gland cells accelerates the Drosophila time to adult eclosion and that the observed acceleration of development is age-dependent. Insight into the effects of injury on development in Drosophila can potentially lead to information about development in other organisms, including humans, following injury or chronic inflammation.

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2015-05

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New Developments in Human Embryo Research: Reassessing the 14-day Guideline in the US

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In this paper, I aim to assess the ethical and policy issues at the forefront of developmental biology, mainly, the 14-day guideline dictating human embryo research. Ever since the invention of in vitro fertilization in the 1970s, the research landscape

In this paper, I aim to assess the ethical and policy issues at the forefront of developmental biology, mainly, the 14-day guideline dictating human embryo research. Ever since the invention of in vitro fertilization in the 1970s, the research landscape of human embryo research has been well explored. Now, there are new embryonic technologies and human embryonic stem cell based models that many believe do not fit into current guidelines. This paper analyzes four of these new technologies-- stem cell derived gametes, embryoids, 3D printed embryos and synthetic embryos-- in order to explore the impetus for reopening the debate on the 14-day guideline. The paper then explores current research and research projects while comparing and contrasting science as well as the potential for moral status and how that impacts regulation. Current United States policies and regulations as well as current professional society guidelines are broken down to fully grasp the political landscape surrounding human embryo research. Notably, current policies include the complete lack of a federal definition of an embryo as well as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment which restrict funding for human embryo research. It is thus advised that these, along with the 14 day guideline, are updated in order to encapsulate the early human developmental research landscape and promote research. This paper ends with an in depth policy recommendation including (but not limited to) bill language, suggested definitions and potential strategies.

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2020-05

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A novel role for lunatic fringe in the development of epaxial musculature

Description

Skeletal muscles arise from the myotome compartment of the somites that form during vertebrate embryonic development. Somites are transient structures serve as the anlagen for the axial skeleton, skeletal muscle, tendons, and dermis, as well as imposing the metameric patterning

Skeletal muscles arise from the myotome compartment of the somites that form during vertebrate embryonic development. Somites are transient structures serve as the anlagen for the axial skeleton, skeletal muscle, tendons, and dermis, as well as imposing the metameric patterning of the axial musculoskeletal system, peripheral nerves, and vasculature. Classic studies have described the role of Notch, Wnt, and FGF signaling pathways in controlling somite formation and muscle formation. However, little is known about the transformation of myotome compartments into identifiable post-natal muscle groups. Using a mouse model, I have undertaken an evaluation of morphological events, including hypertrophy and hyperplasia, related to the formation of several muscles positioned along the dorsal surface of the vertebrae and ribs. Lunatic fringe (Lfng) deficient embryos and neonates were also examined to further understand the role of the Notch pathway in these processes as it is a modulator of the Notch receptor and plays an important role in defining somite borders and anterior-posterior patterning in many vertebrates. Lunatic fringe deficient embryos showed defects in muscle fiber hyperplasia and hypertrophy in the iliocostalis and longissimus muscles of the erector spinae group. This novel data suggests an additional role for Lfng and the Notch signaling pathway in embryonic and fetal muscle development.

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Date Created
2012

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From fertilization to birth: representing development in high school biology textbooks

Description

Biology textbooks are everybody's business. In accepting the view that texts are created with specific social goals in mind, I examined 127 twentieth-century high school biology textbooks for representations of animal development. Paragraphs and visual representations were coded and placed

Biology textbooks are everybody's business. In accepting the view that texts are created with specific social goals in mind, I examined 127 twentieth-century high school biology textbooks for representations of animal development. Paragraphs and visual representations were coded and placed in one of four scientific literacy categories: descriptive, investigative, nature of science, and human embryos, technology, and society (HETS). I then interpreted how embryos and fetuses have been socially constructed for students. I also examined the use of Haeckel's embryo drawings to support recapitulation and evolutionary theory. Textbooks revealed that publication of Haeckel's drawings was influenced by evolutionists and anti-evolutionists in the 1930s, 1960s, and the 1990s. Haeckel's embryos continue to persist in textbooks because they "safely" illustrate similarities between embryos and are rarely discussed in enough detail to understand comparative embryology's role in the support of evolution. Certain events coincided with changes in how embryos were presented: (a) the growth of the American Medical Association (AMA) and an increase in birth rates (1950s); (b) the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and public acceptance of birth control methods (1960s); (c) Roe vs. Wade (1973); (d) in vitro fertilization and Lennart Nilsson's photographs (1970s); (e) prenatal technology and fetocentrism (1980s); and (f) genetic engineering and Science-Technology-Society (STS) curriculum (1980s and 1990s). By the end of the twentieth century, changing conceptions, research practices, and technologies all combined to transform the nature of biological development. Human embryos went from a highly descriptive, static, and private object to that of sometimes contentious public figure. I contend that an ignored source for helping move embryos into the public realm is schoolbooks. Throughout the 1900s, authors and publishers accomplished this by placing biology textbook embryos and fetuses in several different contexts--biological, technological, experimental, moral, social, and legal.

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Date Created
2010

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The role of PARAXIS as a mediator of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions during the development of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system

Description

The development of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system is a highly dynamic process, requiring tight control of the specification and patterning of myogenic, chondrogenic and tenogenic cell types. Development of the diverse musculoskeletal lineages from a common embryonic origin in the

The development of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system is a highly dynamic process, requiring tight control of the specification and patterning of myogenic, chondrogenic and tenogenic cell types. Development of the diverse musculoskeletal lineages from a common embryonic origin in the paraxial mesoderm indicates the presence of a regulatory network of transcription factors that direct lineage decisions. The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, PARAXIS, is expressed in the paraxial mesoderm during vertebrate somitogenesis, where it has been shown to play a critical role in the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition associated with somitogenesis, and the development of the hypaxial skeletal musculature and axial skeleton. In an effort to elucidate the underlying genetic mechanism by which PARAXIS regulates the musculoskeletal system, I performed a microarray-based, genome-wide analysis comparing transcription levels in the somites of Paraxis-/- and Paraxis+/+ embryos. This study revealed targets of PARAXIS involved in multiple aspects of mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition, including Fap and Dmrt2, which modulate cell-extracellular matrix adhesion. Additionally, in the epaxial dermomyotome, PARAXIS activates the expression of the integrin subunits a4 and a6, which bind fibronectin and laminin, respectively, and help organize the patterning of trunk skeletal muscle. Finally, PARAXIS activates the expression of genes required for the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and migration of hypaxial myoblasts into the limb, including Lbx1 and Met. Together, these data point to a role for PARAXIS in the morphogenetic control of musculoskeletal patterning.

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Date Created
2013

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Insights towards developing regenerative therapies: the lizard, Anolis carolinensis, as a genetic model for regeneration in amniotes

Description

Damage to the central nervous system due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as degenerative musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, drastically impact the quality of life. Regeneration of complex structures is quite limited in mammals, though other

Damage to the central nervous system due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as degenerative musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, drastically impact the quality of life. Regeneration of complex structures is quite limited in mammals, though other vertebrates possess this ability. Lizards are the most closely related organism to humans that can regenerate de novo skeletal muscle, hyaline cartilage, spinal cord, vasculature, and skin. Progress in studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of lizard regeneration has previously been limited by a lack of genomic resources. Building on the release of the genome of the green anole, Anolis carolinensis, we developed a second generation, robust RNA-Seq-based genome annotation, and performed the first transcriptomic analysis of tail regeneration in this species. In order to investigate gene expression in regenerating tissue, we performed whole transcriptome and microRNA transcriptome analysis of regenerating tail tip and base and associated tissues, identifying key genetic targets in the regenerative process. These studies have identified components of a genetic program for regeneration in the lizard that includes both developmental and adult repair mechanisms shared with mammals, indicating value in the translation of these findings to future regenerative therapies.

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Date Created
2015

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Structured sparse learning and its applications to biomedical and biological data

Description

Sparsity has become an important modeling tool in areas such as genetics, signal and audio processing, medical image processing, etc. Via the penalization of l-1 norm based regularization, the structured sparse learning algorithms can produce highly accurate models while imposing

Sparsity has become an important modeling tool in areas such as genetics, signal and audio processing, medical image processing, etc. Via the penalization of l-1 norm based regularization, the structured sparse learning algorithms can produce highly accurate models while imposing various predefined structures on the data, such as feature groups or graphs. In this thesis, I first propose to solve a sparse learning model with a general group structure, where the predefined groups may overlap with each other. Then, I present three real world applications which can benefit from the group structured sparse learning technique. In the first application, I study the Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis problem using multi-modality neuroimaging data. In this dataset, not every subject has all data sources available, exhibiting an unique and challenging block-wise missing pattern. In the second application, I study the automatic annotation and retrieval of fruit-fly gene expression pattern images. Combined with the spatial information, sparse learning techniques can be used to construct effective representation of the expression images. In the third application, I present a new computational approach to annotate developmental stage for Drosophila embryos in the gene expression images. In addition, it provides a stage score that enables one to more finely annotate each embryo so that they are divided into early and late periods of development within standard stage demarcations. Stage scores help us to illuminate global gene activities and changes much better, and more refined stage annotations improve our ability to better interpret results when expression pattern matches are discovered between genes.

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Date Created
2013

Advancing the lizard, Anolis carolinensis, as a model system for genomic studies of evolution, development and regeneration

Description

Well-established model systems exist in four out of the seven major classes of vertebrates. These include the mouse, chicken, frog and zebrafish. Noticeably missing from this list is a reptilian model organism for comparative studies between the vertebrates and for

Well-established model systems exist in four out of the seven major classes of vertebrates. These include the mouse, chicken, frog and zebrafish. Noticeably missing from this list is a reptilian model organism for comparative studies between the vertebrates and for studies of biological processes unique to reptiles. To help fill in this gap the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, is being adapted as a model organism. Despite the recent release of the complete genomic sequence of the A. carolinensis, the lizard lacks some resources to aid researchers in their studies. Particularly, the lack of transcriptomic resources for lizard has made it difficult to identify genes complete with alternative splice forms and untranslated regions (UTRs). As part of this work the genome annotation for A. carolinensis was improved through next generation sequencing and assembly of the transcriptomes from 14 different adult and embryonic tissues. This revised annotation of the lizard will improve comparative studies between vertebrates, as well as studies within A. carolinensis itself, by providing more accurate gene models, which provide the bases for molecular studies. To demonstrate the utility of the improved annotations and reptilian model organism, the developmental process of somitogenesis in the lizard was analyzed and compared with other vertebrates. This study identified several key features both divergent and convergent between the vertebrates, which was not previously known before analysis of a reptilian model organism. The improved genome annotations have also allowed for molecular studies of tail regeneration in the lizard. With the annotation of 3' UTR sequences and next generation sequencing, it is now possible to do expressional studies of miRNA and predict their mRNA target transcripts at genomic scale. Through next generation small RNA sequencing and subsequent analysis, several differentially expressed miRNAs were identified in the regenerating tail, suggesting miRNA may play a key role in regulating this process in lizards. Through miRNA target prediction several key biological pathways were identified as potentially under the regulation of miRNAs during tail regeneration. In total, this work has both helped advance A. carolinensis as model system and displayed the utility of a reptilian model system.

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Date Created
2012

The Effect of GATA6 Expression and Its Neighborhood Impact Factor on Regulating Cell Fate

Description

A genetically engineered line of human induced pluripotent stem cells was used to study the effects of gene expression on cell fate. These cells were designed to activate expression of the gene GATA6 when exposed to the small molecule

A genetically engineered line of human induced pluripotent stem cells was used to study the effects of gene expression on cell fate. These cells were designed to activate expression of the gene GATA6 when exposed to the small molecule doxycycline. This gene was chosen because it plays an important role in the developmental biology stages of liver formation. Because of the way the cells were engineered, a given population would have a heterogeneous expression of GATA6 because each cell could have a different copy number of the exogenous gene. This variation allows for the differentiation of multiple cell types, and is used to grow liver organoids. The early liver organoid samples were studied via immunofluorescent staining, imaging, and quantitative image analysis. It was originally hypothesized that absolute gene expression was not the most important factor in determining cell fate, but relative gene expression was. This meant that the spatial location of the cells and their local environment were critical in determining cell fate. In other words, the level of GATA6 of a cell is important, but so is the level of GATA6 in the surrounding cells, or neighborhood, of that cell. This hypothesis was analyzed with the creation of various Neighborhood Impact Factor (NIF) methods. Multiple time points of growth were analyzed to study the temporal effect, in addition to the gene expression and NIF influence on a cell’s fate. Direct gene expression level showed correlation with certain cell fate markers. In addition to GATA6 expression levels, NIF results from early and late time point experiments show statistical significance with relatively small neighborhood radii. The NIF analysis was useful for examining the effect of neighboring cells and determining the size of the neighborhood – how far cells influence one another. While these systems are complex, the NIF analysis provides a way to look at gene expression and its influence in spatial context.

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Date Created
2017

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The Role of ERK/MAPK In The Postnatal Development of Lower Motor Neurons

Description

The Erk/MAPK pathway plays a major role in cell growth, differentiation, and survival. Genetic mutations that cause dysregulation in this pathway can result in the development of Rasopathies, a group of several different syndromes including Noonan Syndrome, Costello Syndrome, and

The Erk/MAPK pathway plays a major role in cell growth, differentiation, and survival. Genetic mutations that cause dysregulation in this pathway can result in the development of Rasopathies, a group of several different syndromes including Noonan Syndrome, Costello Syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis Type-1. Since these mutations are germline and affect all cell types it is hard to differentiate the role that Erk/MAPK plays in each cell type. Previous research has shown that individual cell types utilize the Erk/MAPK pathway in different ways. For example, the morphological development of lower motor neuron axonal projections is Erk/MAPK-independent during embryogenesis, while nociceptive neuron projections require Erk/MAPK to innervate epidermal targets. Here, we tested whether Erk/MAPK played a role in the postnatal development of lower motor neurons during crucial periods of activity-dependent circuit modifications. We have generated Cre-dependent conditional Erk/MAPK mutant mice that exhibit either loss or gain of Erk/MAPK signaling specifically in ChAT:Cre expressing lower motor neurons. Importantly, we found that Erk/MAPK is necessary for the development of neuromuscular junction morphology by the second postnatal week. In contrast, we were unable to detect a significant difference in lower motor neuron development in Erk/MAPK gain-of-function mice. The data suggests that Erk/MAPK plays an important role in postnatal lower motor neuron development by regulating the morphological maturation of the neuromuscular junction.

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Date Created
2017