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Neurogenetic Analysis of C. elegans Developmental Decision-making


Chai, Cynthia Mei-Ling (2021) Neurogenetic Analysis of C. elegans Developmental Decision-making. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/r71f-nz93.


How does the neuronal genome dictate cellular physiology and function, which in turn impacts organismal development? This is the central question driving all the projects in this thesis. Here, we leveraged the well-defined nervous system and genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans to apply this genes to neurons to phenotype experimental approach. In Chapter 2, we delineate how a pair of first order amphid interneurons integrates conspecific cues and propagates this information via neuropeptidergic pathways to influence larval developmental fate. In Chapter 3, we identify and characterize a role for the evolutionarily-conserved forkhead transcription factor FKH-7/FOXP in regulating sensory neuron function during developmental decision-making. Our results show that perturbations of single genes encoding transcription factors, neuropeptides, and receptors can significantly alter neuronal function and ultimately have profound effects on an organism’s life history.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Neurogenetics; Development; C. elegans; Decision-making; Neurobiology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Biology and Biological Engineering
Major Option:Neurobiology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
Thesis Committee:
  • Anderson, David J. (chair)
  • Bronner, Marianne E.
  • Parker, Joseph
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
Defense Date:10 May 2021
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06012021-063721816
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14217
Deposited By: Cynthia Chai
Deposited On:02 Jun 2021 23:26
Last Modified:09 Dec 2021 20:18

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