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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

EXPRESSION LEVELS OF VASA, PAX-1 LIKE INTERACTING, AND GERANYL-GERANYL TRANSFERASE ACROSS DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF THE WASP COPIDOSOMA FLORIDANUM**

Abstract

The parasitic, polyembryonic wasp Copidosoma floridanum is useful for studying the evolution of development because it has evolved a novel phase of development, the proliferation phase. C. floridanum development begins when females oviposit eggs into a lepidopteran host egg. After an egg is laid, it undergoes cell division to form a morula. However, instead of then initiating morphogenesis, as commonly occurs in organisms, it is delayed in favor of proliferation, a phase of prolonged, undifferentiated cell division. During proliferation, invagination of a surrounding membrane parcels groups of dividing cells into independently developing embryos. This mass of embryos, a polymorula, gives rise to thousands of genetically identical siblings. These siblings then differentiate into two larval castes, a reproductive caste whose members eventually pupate and metamorphose into adults and a soldier caste whose members exist only as larvae. Most embryos develop into members of the reproductive caste in which morphogenesis is synchronously initiated at the onset of the 5th instar of the host. To investigate the molecular regulation of proliferation and the switch to morphogenesis in C. floridanum, quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to measure the level of expression of 3 candidate genes, vasa, pax-1-like-interacting, and geranyl-geranyl transferase (ggt). Prior work suggests that these genes have roles in cell division or morphogenesis in other animals and that they are present in the combined proliferation-morphogenesis transcriptome of C. floridanum. However, expression of these genes has not been examined at a finer time scale in C. floridanum. Results will show relative gene expression levels during the proliferation phase, early morphogenesis, late morphogenesis and larval stages of C. floridanum. Genes with differential expression between proliferation and morphogenesis are good candidates for future functional studies while those displaying consistent levels of expression likely are not involved in regulating proliferation or the switch from proliferation to morphogenesis.

Acknowledgements

UNG Center for Undergradaute Research and Creative Activities, UNG Biology Department

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