Mentor: John J. Collins, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology
The effect of the mut-2 gene on the stability of free duplications in Caenorhabditis elegans
Free duplications are formed when chromosomes inside C. elegans are fragmented by irradiation. Fragments from different chromosomes are joined together into one long array. Arrays that are formed in this manner are called free duplications. Free duplications segregate during mitosis and meiosis much like normal chromosomes. However, the inheritance of free duplications is not as reliable as chromosomes. Recent laboratory observations have indicated that the mutant form of the mut-2 gene stabilizes the inheritance of free duplications.
The purpose of my research was to investigate the effect of the mut-2 gene on the stability of inheritance of free duplications in one generation. To determine the role of mut-2 in free duplication inheritance, I compared the frequency of duplication loss in wildtype and mut-2 mutant strains. Using strains that contained a known duplication, I counted the number of offspring that inherited the duplication. To simplify the identification process, each duplication contained a genetic marker which allowed me to visually determine its presence or absence. I compared wildtype worms and mut-2 mutant worms, determining for each what fraction of the progeny inherited the duplication.