Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Mary B. Kroetz

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Krzysiak


C. elegans is a nematode model organism commonly used in research because of its small size and similarity to humans. Of the known protein sequences of C. elegans, 40%-80% have human homologous genes, making C. elegans an ideal organism for study of human proteins (Lai et al. 2000). Additionally, there are two sexes of C. elegans, male and hermaphrodite. Of the two sexes, this research focuses on the males, especially the development of the gonad and the genes involved in this process. Two genes were chosen for study, C10E2.6 and pig-1, based on essentiality and mRNA expression during gonadogenesis. An essential gene is defined as a gene that is necessary for the organism to survive. The mRNA expression of the genes was observed to be higher in both the male and hermaphrodite gonads during development when compared to the mRNA expression in the rest of the organism. DNA constructs, including gRNA (guide RNA) and a homologous repair construct, were designed to study the genes. In this research, CRISPR will be used to genetically alter the worms so that the gene products of the aforementioned genes are fused with GFP. Future research will allow for the study of the genes' specific role in gonadal development through the study of the effects of the absence of the gene products in the worm. Even further, it is possible that some parts of gonad formation may be a conserved process between species, perhaps shedding light on this process in mammals.

Included in

Biology Commons