Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Mike Tibbetts

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The eye is an extremely delicate and complex structure that allows for all animalia to see the world around them. One of the most important parts of the organ, the retina, is essential for seeing color, focusing, and sending light signals from the eye to the optic nerve and then to the brain. Though issues can arise once the eye is fully developed, there can also be complications during. One disorder in particular where one or both eyes don’t properly form is microphthalmia. Microphthalmia is a genetic disorder where issues begin during retina or lens development. Previous studies have found multiple genes and transcription factors that have been identified as playing a role in vision impairment. Wild type zebrafish have been found to have Rx, a transcription factor that upregulates genes that promote eye development and downregulates genes that support forebrain development. Two genes under this one transcription factor have been found to play important roles in development individually. Mab21l2 has been found to be involved in the development of progenitor cells in the retina. Aldh1a3 has been found to be expressed in retinal cells during early development. In this study, I investigated the relationship between mab21l2 and aldh1a3 using morpholino oligonucleotide (MO) knockdowns. The goal was to see how the MOs affected the eye size of the larvae. Immunofluorescent labelling with antibodies confirmed that the proteins localized in the eye. I found that only aldh1a3 had a significant effect on eye size compared to the control. These results suggest that aldh1a3 plays an important role in retina development and can possibly be connected to microphthalmia in humans.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

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