Honors College Thesis

 

The accumulation of mitochondrial DNA deletions as Caenorhabditis elegans ages Public Deposited

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  • Though previous genetic research studies performed on Caenorhabditis elegans found that high levels of endogenous oxidative stress resulted in decreased health, and that mitochondrial DNA deletions accumulated with age in these organisms, no studies have been conducted to link these two separate findings. This study correlated these separate results by confirming the hypotheses that (I) mitochondrial DNA deletions occur more frequently in older C. elegans than in younger C. elegans, and finding that (II) mitochondrial DNA deletions occur more frequently in C. elegans that experience high endogenous oxidative stress. A gas-1 mutant strain of C. elegans with known mitochondrial dysfunction and resultant increased levels of endogenous oxidative stress was used in comparison to an N2 wild-type strain. These strains were analyzed in a lifespan assay. Samples at different age-points were taken of each strain and surveyed for mitochondrial DNA deletions using polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis techniques. Statistical analysis of the results found significant support for the hypotheses (I and II).
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