Faculty and Research
Heitman Lab Members
I am an undergraduate student at Duke University and plan to double major in Biology and Political Science in 2010. I began my work in Dr. Heitman's lab in October of 2006 under the instruction of Dr. Marianela Rodriquez-Carres. My research project focused on studying the role of untranslated RNA during mating in Cryptococcus neoformans.
Many similarities exist in the sexual reproduction between animals and Cryptococcus neoformans: 1)This fungus has two different compatible MAT (mating type) loci (a and α), which could be considered equivalent to the two different sexual chromosomes in animals (e.g., X and Y). 2) In this fungus, the two complementary MAT loci do not recombine during meiosis, just as in animal sexual chromosomes (X and Y). 3) Both the MAT loci and the sexual chromosomes carry general and mating genes. 4) Both the MAT loci and the sexual chromosomes contain untranslated RNA. Interestingly, in animals, this untranslated RNA is important in the silencing of one of the X chromosomes. Therefore, we were trying to determine whether the untranslated RNA in the MAT locus of Cryptococcus neoformans is responsible for regulating gene expression and/or mating.
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