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Nasonia Vitripennis: An Emerging Model Organism for Chronobiology

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posted on 2017-05-22, 11:59 authored by Nathaniel Jude Davies
The circadian clock co-ordinates a wide range of biological processes in animals and as such has implications for a range of research topics, including human disease. Recent research has shown that Drosophila, the most widely used insect clock model, may be somewhat esoteric, suggesting that other insects may make more suitable models. The work presented in this thesis advances the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis as a model for circadian research. Firstly, the response of the Nasonia circadian clock to temperature was characterised, revealing the presence of a temperature compensation mechanism more strict in constant darkness than in constant light. This work was followed up by the profiling of the circadian transcriptome in Nasonia in both of these constant conditions. This work revealed fundamental differences in the dynamics of circadian transcription between Drosophila and Nasonia, as well as identifying temporal separation of biological function in the wasp, most notably of anabolic and catabolic processes. Secondly, conserved upstream non-coding sequences were identified and analysed, shedding light on the mechanisms of transcriptional and translational control in Nasonia. This analysis revealed conservation of the regulatory elements which control regulatory genes, indicating the presence of conserved regulatory cascades. This work also reports the identification and analysis of conserved regulatory mechanisms in RNA, including conserved secondary structures, carrying implications outside of chronobiology. Thirdly and finally, a gene-focused database was created for Nasonia to facilitate such research. Genome annotation data was processed and combined with functional data from published RNA-seq and microarray datasets, along with the original analysis of a genome-wide DNA methylation dataset, and the implementation of several tools.

History

Supervisor(s)

Tauber, Eran

Date of award

2017-05-16

Author affiliation

Department of Genetics

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Language

en

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