Discipline: Biological Sciences
Carlos Declet - University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus
Co-Author(s): Amaresh Chaturbedi and Siu Sylvia Lee, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
The ability of organisms to control and regulate fat storage is key for their survival. It is known that fat accumulation and obesity are associated with serious health conditions in some organisms, because it may contribute to insulin resistance, cardiovascular conditions, and some types of cancer. In the research carried out, the main purpose was to study the relationship between sterility and fat accumulation in a microscopic nematode, C. elegans, which has shown to be a powerful model for the study of genomics relevant to mammals. Reproduction is an energy-intensive process and fat is one of the sources for energy. We hypothesize that sterility would cause hyper accumulation of fat, because the inability to breed offspring will lessen energy expenditure. To test this, (i) we performed RNA inference (RNAi) for the genes known to cause sterility when knocked down and (ii) checked the levels of fat by staining the fixed worms with oil red O, which stains lipids. Our results showed that hyper accumulation of lipids was common in sterile worms. Thus, it seems to be true that fat storage increases with the inability to reproduce. In our future research, we want to know if fat accumulation is also link to lifespan. This study is important because it will reveal the relationship between fat metabolism and sterility, if any, and will help us understand how fat metabolism might affect fertilization, health, and lifespan.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Cornell University’s MBG REU Program
Faculty Advisor: Siu Sylvia Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: As part of the MBG REU Program at Cornell University, I spent the whole summer working on my project. This includes: DAPI staining, Oil Red O staining, Mini prep preparation, imaging, passing worms, RNAi, among other things. My research was focused on knocking down genes known to cause sterility in C. elegans and studying the fat accumulation of those phenotype. Basically, all the bench work was done by myself as well as all the other procedures.