Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Brynn Brady L&S Biological Sciences

CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to test an enhancer underlying evolution

The molecular basis of evolutionary change in morphology is not well understood. Although progress has been made linking genes to morphological phenotypes through genetic knockouts, little is known about how genetic variation underlies observed morphological differences between organisms in nature.

Recent studies propose that changes in non-coding genomic regions that regulate transcription called enhancers explain most evolved morphological variation. My research will test the hypothesis that changes in an intronic enhancer of a known developmental gene, Bmp6, underlie evolved changes in tooth patterning in fish. I will perform genomic knock-in assays using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to swap natural variants of this enhancer and assay tooth number and patterning. This work will contribute to our understanding of the molecular basis of morphological evolution and determine whether genome editing enhancer sequences can recreate naturally evolved morphological change.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for your support this summer. The opportunity to conduct independent research is a privilege I do not take lightly. It has alway been my dream to do genetics research at an institution such as Berkeley, and I am grateful for your support as I take this step to grow as a scientist and as a person.
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Craig Miller
Sponsor: Pergo
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