Biological Sciences - Student Works

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 53
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    Neurodevelopmental effects of teratogens on chick embryos: a model organism for human health
    (2022) Slade, Sophia A.; Davis, Monica
    The chick embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus), and its extraembryonic membranes, have been a commonly used model organism in developmental biology due to it being relatively easy to manipulate, inexpensive, and widely available. Chickens are one of the most valuable model organisms for medical and biological research and have profoundly influenced developmental biology since the 20th century. After 24 hours of development (during gastrulation), the process of neurulation begins, with the cephalic region progressing faster than the caudal region. Signalling centres release morphogen transcripts to determine axis formation of the neural tube. Complete neurulation is essential for the proper development of the brain and spinal cord. Chickens share many morphological, genetic, and biochemical similarities with humans, making them an appropriate model organism to examine teratogenic actions and effects on human development. This paper examines the impact of teratogens of differing origins: viral infection (Zika virus), environmental pollutants (cadmium), and recreational drugs (alcohol) on neural development in early chick embryos. Due to the similarities between human and chick embryonic development, researchers can correlate the findings of neural tube alterations in chickens following teratogen exposure with human congenital malformations, providing insight into their causes and mechanisms.
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    Is true informed consent achievable?
    (2022) Matz, Miya
    Imagine you have just found out that a loved one, such as a parent, sibling, or close friend, suffers from a rare and deadly genetic disorder. There are currently no successful mainstream treatments for this disorder. However, the doctor mentions a highly experimental treatment that would involve removing bone marrow from a healthy donor once a month for a full year and could potentially cause permanent damage to them. It turns out that you are a match. How would you make your decision regarding treatment? Most individuals would suggest leaving it to the doctor’s discretion, but because it is your body, it is ultimately your choice. You attempt to do further research on the internet but end up confused and frustrated. How will you ultimately decide as to whether you should give informed consent for the procedure?
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    The development of the chick embryo heart and using it as a model for atrial septal research
    (2022) Vignjevic, Mimi; Davis, Monica
    As an essential model organism, chicks can be used to study embryonic development. Information obtained by experiments can be applied to human development to understand how humans develop, processes and mechanisms that occur during human development, and possible sources of developmental disorders. Due to the rapid development of chick hearts, and similar developmental mechanism to human hearts, experiments performed on chick hearts can be applied to human heart development and be used to study human developmental disorders. Atrial septal defect is a common heart defect present at birth in humans, causing a hole in the septum of the heart. Using chicks, researchers can identify how heart structures move to form the septal hole, what genetic mutations or teratogens produce the defect, and potential mechanisms and treatments that can be used to prevent or treat atrial septal defect. Ultimately, chick heart research provides a more in depth understanding of human heart development which further provides the scientific community a greater understanding of general embryonic development.
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    Recovery ability of thermally stressed captive Coral Anthelia spp., as measured by dinoflagellate density
    (2022) Dunbar, Dana; Shaw, Ross
    Warming ocean temperatures are leading to an increase in coral bleaching events. These rising temperatures are fatal to coral species as they disrupt the symbiotic relationship between corals and dinoflagellates. Among other factors, thermal stress results in dinoflagellate damage and the loss of these symbionts. The recovery ability of corals exposed to this stress is a small area of research within the larger body of coral conservation. This study aims to add to that field by examining how soft corals, specifically Anthelia spp., react to thermal stresses. Over a nine- week period, 4 different experimental tanks will be raised from 28o to 32oC before returning to 28C to observe recovery potential. Dinoflagellate density was examined twice per week using a maceration method on tissue samples, viewed under a compound microscope. These densities were used as an indication of coral health and successful recovery. Expanding the knowledge of the recovery ability of soft corals is imperative to continuing the existence of these species.
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    Developing microsatellite markers for Cypripedium passerinum (Sparrow’s egg lady’s slipper)
    (2022) Lim, Lina; McFadyen, David
    Natural and anthropogenic disturbances contribute to increased habitat loss and fragmentation and subsequently, species loss. Integrated conservation approaches combine both in-situ and ex-situ approaches whereby natural habitats of endangered species are conserved, and the genetic diversity of the threatened population is retained outside of their natural habitat. Therefore, an essential component of an effective conservation strategy is to assess genetic variation to ensure that the conservation approach employed is effective in preserving the diversity of the whole population. Microsatellites, highly polymorphic repetitive DNA sequences in the genome of all organisms, have proven to be a valuable tool in the assessment of genetic diversity. This project aimed to isolate microsatellite markers from Cypripedium passerinum, a native North American terrestrial orchid at risk of extinction. Fast Isolation by AFLP of Sequences Containing Repeats (FIASCO) was employed to generate a genomic DNA library enriched for AT, AC, and AAG microsatellites. Clones were selected from the libraries and bidirectionally sequenced to identify those which contain microsatellites. A total of 158 microsatellite loci were identified, of which 83% were perfect microsatellites. PCR primers were developed using the unique sequences flanking the identified microsatellites and were evaluated for their utility. Primers amplifying polymorphic loci can be used to assess the genetic diversity of C. passerinum populations both within the Wagner Natural Area, Alberta, Canada and elsewhere in its range of distribution. The project findings will contribute to the integrated conservation efforts to protect species found in Wagner Natural Area and contribute to our understanding of C. passerinum.