Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Ashley Elizabeth Bendl SURF SMART

Is Sharing Caring? Investigating the Role of Horizontal Gene Transfer in Insect Fitness

You may have heard the phrase You look just like your mother, but how often have you heard You look just like a bacteria? The former is an example of the type of genetic inheritance most of us are familiar with, vertical, or inheritance from parents to offspring. This project, however, involves horizontal inheritance: that is, the exchange of genes between species, otherwise known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT). The project involves investigating how and why a horizontally transferred gene was transferred from viruses to insects several million years ago.

Message To Sponsor

I cannot express how appreciative I am to have the opportunity to explore horizontal gene transfer this summer. I am extremely grateful for the chance to learn laboratory techniques while immersing myself in integrative biology and genetics. This summer experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and participate in something that is both fascinating and useful for my future career.
Profile image of Ashley Elizabeth Bendl
Major: Undeclared
Mentor: Kirsten Verster
Sponsor: Johnson Fund
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