Title of Abstract: RNA-seq Analysis of Irradiated Sciara Coprophila: Role of Argonautes
Name of Mentor: Jack Bateman
Mentor’s Organization or Department: Department of Biology, Bowdoin College
Research Abstract: Ionizing radiation alters DNA, causing somatic cell damage/death, sometimes manifesting as cancer. Germline mutations would be inherited by future generations. Sciara coprophila is highly radiation-resistant, rarely producing irradiated mutants. This fly has long been recognized as a valuable model organism by scientists, but its genome has never been fully analyzed compared to Drosophila. By understanding how S. coprophila avoids mutagenesis by radiation, we could replicate this response in other organisms. Through RNA-seq analysis and BLASTs with the Drosophila genome, we discovered that irradiated Sciara alters its gene expression, upregulating gene silencers called argonautes. Thirteen argonautes were identified in the Sciara genome, but only three were upregulated in the radiation response. Future studies should focus on identifying the target(s) of these upregulated proteins and understanding why these three particular argonautes undergo increased expression rather than others.