Quantifying Sleep-Related Gene Expression in Cassiopea Jellyfish
This summer, I will work towards understanding why Jellyfish exhibit sleep-like behavior from a gene-expression standpoint. The frequency in which genes are expressed can give us insight into the biological mechanisms in many organisms. For the Cassiopea jellyfish, I intend to explore the genetic basis behind sleep by measuring how certain genes, specifically sleep-related genes, are expressed. So far, I have used cloning and sequencing techniques to confirm the presence of genes such as those involved in monitoring sleep/wakefulness, stress responses, and biosynthesis. Over the summer, I plan on building on this foundation by using quantitative PCR to understand how the expression of these genes may vary from a wakeful vs sleep-like state or from a rested vs sleep deprived state. By understanding sleep in an organism from an early branching lineage, such as the Cassiopea, we can have a stronger understanding of the primitive functions of sleep across animals.