Meeting Abstract

P3.57  Friday, Jan. 6  Investigating the molecular basis of notochord loss in Molgula occulta via transcriptome sequencing ANDRYKOVICH, K.R.*; LOWE, E; SWALLA, B.J.; BROWN, C.T.; Carleton College; Michigan State University; University of Washington; Michigan State University andrykok@carleton.edu

Of 3,000 total ascidian tunicate species, only approximately 20 are anural. Almost all of these anural ascidians are within the Molgulidae, a clade containing three groups of geographically differentiated species found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. As there are closely related anural and urodele species in the Molgulidae, this clade offers an opportunity to identify pathways present only in the urodele species and effectively characterize elements necessary for notochord development. During this study, prickle, a gene involved in the convergence and extension of ascidian notochordal cells, was isolated by PCR from cDNA and used for in situ hybridization. We were especially interested in in situ hybridizations of the isolated genes in M. occulta, M. oculata and M. occulta x M. oculata hybrid embryos. Future studies will use the same transcriptome-guided molecular methods to isolate and perform in-situs for other prospective “notochordal genes.”