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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Effects of DNA repair defects on memory and habituation of mechanosensation in Caenorhabditis elegans

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 06/18/2014
End Date 06/30/2015
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 08/18/2014 11:45PM
Keywords DNA, c. elegans

People

Faculty
  Miki Ii

Student Researchers
  Judy Vu

Abstract

Comprehending how memories are induced and retained is one of the major outstanding questions in modern neuroscience. This can be quite challenging in the brains of species in the Animalia and Mammalia kingdoms due to the immense intricacy but invertebrates such as Caenorhabditis elegans offer extensive advantages for learning and memory studies of their relative simplicity. Today there is no question as to the relevance of invertebrate research in the field of learning and memory (Ardiel E. et al, 2010). C. elegans is sensitive to their environment and respond to stimuli through neuronal activity similar to mammals (Hart, A. C. ed., 2006). Today, this nematode is the world's best understood animal. Its small size, short life cycle, and ease of cultivation make it ideal for laboratory uses. In addition, C.elegans has an invariant cell lineage and relatively simple morphology (Ardiel E. et al, 2010). DNA repair is important for maintaining health of the cells. Mutations of DNA repair genes are known to lead development of cancers and accelerated aging. Recent studies have shown that mutations of DNA repair genes cause neurological disorders in humans, indicating importance of DNA repair genes in neuronal development and maintenance of healthy neurons. The Ii lab has found that mutations of DNA repair genes severely affect development of several different neurons in C. elegans. In this study, I will examine whether DNA repair defects can affect function of "the neural circuit" composed of mechanosensory neurons (ALM, AVM, and PLM) and interneurons (AVA, A VB, AVD and PVC) that are required for memory and habituation of mechanosensation such as body touch and tapping using C. elegans (Giles, A.C. and Rankin, C. H., 2009).

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