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Lab ImageBob Goldstein

UNC Chapel Hill
Biology Department
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

bobg AT unc.edu
919 843-8575

Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, Sectioning for Electron Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Epifluoresence Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Time-Lapse Microscopy, Transgenesis, Mutagenesis, RNA interference(RNAi), Morpholinos
Research Description: Water bears are adorable invertebrates that make up a little-studied ecdysozoan phylum. Our interest in water bears was sparked by the discovery in the late 1990s that C. elegans and Drosophila are much more closely related to each other than previously known, as members of the ecdysozoa. We postulated that phyla closely related to these two models could become valuable evo-devo models if representatives suited to laboratory study could be found. Outside of the nematodes (which includes C. elegans) and arthropods (which includes Drosophila), ecdysozoans include only phyla whose development is poorly studied: kinorhynchs, onychophorans, loriciferans, nematomorphs, priapulids and tardigrades (aka water bears). We identified a species of water bear, Hypsibius dujardini, that we found has a compact genome, a short generation time, small, clear embryos and stereotyped patterns of asymmetric divisions and cell migrations. Importantly, we were led to a guy in England who had been raising them in a shed behind his house for 20 years, unaware that long-term culture of tardigrades was a longstanding challenge to the small community of tardigrade scientists. Our current work focuses on obtaining and analyzing a genome sequence and developing methods for RNAi to facilitate future evo-devo studies. Our long term goal is to use these animals to contribute to understanding how animal morphology evolves by evolutionary alterations to developmental mechanisms.
Lab Web Page: http://tardigrades.bio.unc.edu/
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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