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BMEBT Seminar/PhD Proposal Defense by Soniya Balli
|Category:||College Of Engineering|
|Date & Time:||
Friday , 10/19/2012
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
|Sponsored by:||BMEBT Seminar Series|
Dr. Sankha Bhowmick
TOPIC: EFFECT OF DOMESTICATION ON BEHAVIOR AND GENE EXPRESSION IN ZEBRA FISH AND RAINBOW TROUT
Domestication is a process in which captively reared animals are artificially selected to undergo various genetic and phenotypic modifications. Domesticated species differ from their wild counterparts in terms of altered gene expression patterns, morphology, physiology and social behavior. The first goal of this research will be to study the effect of domestication on spatial gene expression pattern in wild and domesticated strains of zebra fish using in situ hybridization technique. I will test the hypothesis that domestication has altered the spatial gene expression pattern of genes in brain specimens. In a previous microarray study, these strains have shown differential gene expression associated with variation in fear-related behaviors.
The second goal of this research is to study the effect of domestication on aggression. Aggression is an agonistic method of competitive interaction between conspecifics for food, territory or social status. Aggression being an energetically expensive trait is modified by winner and loser effect where a winner from a previous fight tend to initiate an attack and be more aggressive while a loser from a previous fight tend to retreat early from a subsequent attack and are less aggressive. This modulation of aggressive behavior also leads to quick establishment of social status between conspecifics. The effect of domestication on aggression and modulation of aggressive behavior will be analyzed by conducting behavior studies on wild and domesticated strains of juvenile rainbow trouts. I will test the hypothesis that domestication has altered the ability of fish to modulate aggressive behavior. Other studies show that variation in behavior and social status is associated with differential gene expression in different regions of the brain.
This leads to the third goal of this research where I will analyze the effect of domestication on the neurophysiological pathways in the brain associated with aggression and social status. I will test the hypothesis that the effect of social status on gene expression associated with aggression depends on domestication. This will be carried out on the wild and domesticated strains of trout brain specimens collected from the behavior study. Gene expression pattern will be analyzed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization techniques. The outcome of these studies may help conservation biologists enhance chances of survival of captively-reared species that are released into the wild for re-stocking purposes.