Title

Determination of Hox D11 Gene Influence on Chicken Evolution in Embryonic Development

School Name

Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Zoology

Presentation Type

Mentored

Written Paper Award

1st Place

Abstract

There is overwhelming evidence that supports the belief that present-day birds evolved from prehistoric dinosaurs. From similarities in genotypes to striking resemblances in limbs, all evidence points in the direction of such a lineage. The mechanism driving this evolution is not as well known. However, recent discoveries have revealed the importance of Hox genes (a category of homeotic genes) in this process. Hox genes are clusters of genes involved in the embryonic development of most organisms. In short, they determine the specialization of cells along the crania-caudal axis, and give rise to vertebrae, limbs, and other structures such as body segments as seen in insects. All Hox genes contain homeoboxes that code for transcription factors responsible for this differentiation. This research studied one Hox gene in particular, Hox D11; its role, its prevalence, and its locations where its expression was most visible in chicken embryos via in situ hybridization. It was found that limb and tail regions showed heavy prevalence of Hox D11 mRNA expression, indicating that this particular gene could be responsible in part for the patterning of these specific structures, but this needs to be confirmed by western blot analysis for proteins. Since Hox genes have been present between various species across time, further research could also be conducted to compare the Hox gene expressions of chicken embryos with alligators, an older relative of the dinosaur, to prove their shared lineage.

Location

Neville 122

Start Date

4-14-2018 12:00 PM

Presentation Format

Oral and Written

COinS
 
Apr 14th, 12:00 PM

Determination of Hox D11 Gene Influence on Chicken Evolution in Embryonic Development

Neville 122

There is overwhelming evidence that supports the belief that present-day birds evolved from prehistoric dinosaurs. From similarities in genotypes to striking resemblances in limbs, all evidence points in the direction of such a lineage. The mechanism driving this evolution is not as well known. However, recent discoveries have revealed the importance of Hox genes (a category of homeotic genes) in this process. Hox genes are clusters of genes involved in the embryonic development of most organisms. In short, they determine the specialization of cells along the crania-caudal axis, and give rise to vertebrae, limbs, and other structures such as body segments as seen in insects. All Hox genes contain homeoboxes that code for transcription factors responsible for this differentiation. This research studied one Hox gene in particular, Hox D11; its role, its prevalence, and its locations where its expression was most visible in chicken embryos via in situ hybridization. It was found that limb and tail regions showed heavy prevalence of Hox D11 mRNA expression, indicating that this particular gene could be responsible in part for the patterning of these specific structures, but this needs to be confirmed by western blot analysis for proteins. Since Hox genes have been present between various species across time, further research could also be conducted to compare the Hox gene expressions of chicken embryos with alligators, an older relative of the dinosaur, to prove their shared lineage.