Analysis Of Turritopsis Dohrnii

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Turritopsis dohrnii, formerly classified as Turritopsis nutricula, is a species of jellyfish that has the ability to return its immature polyp form after reaching sexually maturity. This jellyfish species is the only known animal in the world to have the ability to turn back its biological clock from a sexually mature stage to an immature stage. This ability is credited to the process of Transdifferentiation, which is the transformation of specific cells or tissues from one form to a different one. The Turritopsis can transdifferentiate indefinitely, making the species hypothetically immortal. The purpose of this research project is to locate the responsible gene(s) and compare them to the human genome with the intent of incorporating the Turritopsis …show more content…
We will sample as many jellies as we can, no less than 100 individuals, from different life stages. The Turritopsis dohrnii is a good model organism for this study because of its unusual and unmatched ability to turn back its biological clock and become a juvenile again if their environment is less that suitable. This genetic data could be analyzed and implemented into the human genome to help with terminal illnesses, such as cancer and autoimmune disease, as well as testing human …show more content…
To begin the research, we will have to fly to the Mediterranean Sea (Southern France). This is where we will collect randomly sampled, unrelated Turritopsis dohrnii specimens. We will test as many life stages as possible. Once we obtain the jellies, we will begin our genomic testing by collecting DNA samples using invasive collection by obtaining tissue and blood samples. We will be specifically targeting the genes associated with transdifferentiation and the genes they may be linked with. To find causative genes, we will run a GWAS for each of the 100 jellies to narrow down the causative region. Our goal in this is to compare the entire genome to identify quantitative trait loci and find common genetic variants. Once we find statistical results of the associated loci, we will identify candidate gene regions and directly sequence the region using a PCR. We would use the Sequenom SNP chip to analyze the candidate DNA with fine-mapping. Finally, we will test and isolate the markers associated with

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