Contract: $194,538 - National Institutes of Health - Aug. 24, 2009
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Award Description: TITLE: Mechanisms of Ovotestis Development DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The long-term objective of this application is to understand the genetic and hormonal mechanisms controlling gonad development in vertebrates. Primary sex determination in most vertebrates results in the development of a single gonad, ovary or testis, from a bipotential primordium, whose developmental fate is controlled by genetic or environmental mechanisms. In some instances a dysgenic gonad may form as a result of congenital or environmental perturbation, occurring either early or late during development, respectively. The frequency of gonadal dysgenesis in human births is 1/15,000, and more extreme is the plasticity observed in fish species capable of whole organism (including gonad) sex-reversal in later stages of development. This application makes use of a synchronous self-fertilizing hermaphroditic fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus (Kmar), whose unique form of reproduction involves a mixed gonad structure referred to as an ovotestis (testis and ovaries in the same place). The ovotestis is capable of normal gametogenesis and fertilization within a common lumen. Most Kmar are configured this way and can easily be self-crossed through several generations to genetic isogeny. The main aim of this application is to perform a grand childless genetic screen in Kmar for mutations involved in ovotestis development. The hypothesis is that mutants derived from this screen will be sterile by disrupting ovary or testis formation within the mixed ovotestis environment. By comparison of mutants to wild-type individuals of identical clonal decent, a default mechanism is hypothesized that is applicable to understanding the predominant bipotential terminal-mode of gonad organogenesis in vertebrates. Several phenotypic classes are predicted from this genetic screen, including a mutant ovotestis (forms only ovary or testis) resistant to hormonal sex-reversal when exposed to estrogen. This type of genetic screen is useful for understanding hormonal regulation of gonad development, and may only be detectable in the context of an otherwise mixed gonadal primordium, the ovotestis, found only in this species. In addition, this grant activity supported through the ?Academic Research Enhancement Award? will employ undergraduate and graduate students both full-time and part-time, allowing student from and underserved region (southeast Georgia) to gain valuable experience in biomedically related research.
Project Description: In the first month of this funded project, laboratory supplies have been ordered from various vendors in the US as we gear up to perform the research.
Jobs Summary: 1 FTE Graduate Research Assistant (Valdosta State University (VSU) GRA Pos# 51045899)- One minority student funded for 2 years leading to a MS degree in biology just began working on the project. Support includes tuition & stipend to VSU biology department graduate program. 1 unpaid, 0 FTE GRA- One part-time graduate student who works FT at a nearby private company in Valdosta will retain and improve current and future employment opportunities through higher education. This grant supports research efforts by this GRA which will ultimately help retain this person?s present job. This is an indirect effect of the grant activity pursuant to the goals of ARRA. 3 part-time undergraduate Student Assistants @ 30 hours a week total, 0.75 FTE among (VSU SA Pos# 51045900)- Three undergraduate students currently working on the grant funded project between 5-12 hours a week each. All SAs are biology majors planning to continue graduate level research. Therefore, each SA is gaining real laboratory experience in biomedically related research to enhance their future career goals. (Total jobs reported: 3)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 24, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.