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Investigation of zooidal development and ontogeny in the compound ascidian Diplosoma listerianum by a range of in situ techniques

By Eva - Maria Herbst


Ascidians are members of the tunicate branch of the chordate tree and have been popular models in embryology, evolutionary biology (Satoh, 1994) and for the study of development. They are invertebrates and located basal to the vertebrates in chordate phylogeny. The compound ascidian Diplosoma listerianum shows both sexual and asexual reproduction by budding, giving the opportunity to compare gene expression in the two developmental programmes. In the present thesis the expression pattern of the Parahox gene caudal was analysed in budding zooids of Diplosoma listehanum by performing RT-PCR, Northern blotting and in situ hibridization. Some ascidians are capable of full neural regeneration. Budding as such is a kind of regeneration, as it involves the reconstruction of adult organisation from parental zooid. During asexual reproduction of D. listerianum a complete new neural complex has to be formed in the developing thoracic bud. To understand this remarkable ability the morphology and formation of the new neural complex was analysed. To examine which tissues form the new neural complex and whether stem cells are involved, cell proliferation and cell death were investigated in budding zooids using BrdU as a mitotic marker and the TUNEL assay for detecting apoptotic cells. Furthermore immunocytochemistry was performed using antibodies against Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone and acetylated tubulin in whole mounts of budding zooidsMarine Biological Association of the UK Plymout

Year: 2004
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