Emilie Aghajani


Understanding Error Correction Mechanism During Embryo Development by Using C. Elegans Wild Isolates

Over time, the free living soil nematode C. elegans has migrated around the world. In many ways, geographically isolated animals of this species have become different due to thousands if not millions of years of each other through the action of natural selection on each isolated population.  By studying how different C. elegans isolates compensate when external forces challenge the normal development of the early embryo, and then comparing and using their genetic similarities and differences we hope to better understand how animals regulate and control development. We will challenge the normal development by placing two-celled embryos from two C. elegans isolates in a temperature gradient device where the embryo will experience a 5 degree difference of temperature across it while it continues to develop.  The embryos are then plated and scored later for survivability. We expect to see a difference in survival rates between the two wild isolates that can lead us to identify an error correction mechanism responsible for how the organism compensates for obstacles in development. By understanding this error correction mechanism in C. elegans, we hope to be able to better understand the causes of developmental disorders in humans.

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute