Cell division and differentiation are fundamental processes in the development of multicellular life. Unusual use of these processes during development of a wasp, Copidosoma floridanum, provides an excellent system in which to study these activities. C. floridanum exhibits extreme polyembryony, meaning that from a single egg thousands of genetically identical offspring develop. Polyembryony is a result of a novel phase of development called the proliferation phase. During proliferation, cell differentiation is put on hold in favor of a prolonged period of undifferentiated cell division, not seen in most organisms. Following proliferation, the genetically identical siblings then differentiate into a sterile, soldier caste or a reproductive caste, like ants and honeybees. Previous research suggests that both proliferation and caste differentiation are regulated by molecular signals from the germline because elimination of the germline restricts cell division and eliminates formation of reproductive caste individuals. The specific genes involved in regulating these processes, however, are still relatively unknown. The purpose of this project is to begin to understand what genes are involved in the molecular regulation of cell division and differentiation in C. floridanum. Prior work suggests that two of the genes that might be involved are geranylgeranyl transferase (ggt) and a pax1-like interacting gene (pax1-like). We have subcloned both of these genes from C. floridanum, using standard molecular biology techniques, and plan to track their expression and function in C. floridanum embryos.
This is a metadata-only record.
- Event date
25 March 2016
- Date submitted
18 July 2022
- Additional information
Dr. Margaret Smith; Dr. Erin Barding