Using CRISPR-Cas9 to Create a Null Allele of Outsiders in D. Melanogaster
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The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.
Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.
The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.
Programmed cell death (PCD) is a biological process that shapes human development. Yet, cancer cells are insusceptible to this process leading to the proliferation of tumors. Research on PCD can produce cancer therapies which increase tumor susceptibility to PCD for tumor eradication.
The exact mechanisms of PCD are currently unknown. My research aims to uncover the role of the gene outsiders in the scheme of PCD in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) embryos. During embryogenesis, Drosophila germ cells travel across the embryo to the gonads for proper development. Mutants with the outsiders gene respond less to PCD resulting in the correct number of germ cells in the gonads, but an excess outlying the peripherals.
To decipher the mechanisms involved in PCD, outsiders will be excised from the genome using the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic engineering technique. This knock-out phenotype will provide insight on the network of PCD for human health applications.