Hot Student Papers

Effects of functionally asexual reproduction on quantitative genetic variation in the evening primroses

19 Dec 2014 - 2:54pm
Primroses

Sex is the spice of life! This is the conclusion that former M.Sc. student Ryan Godfrey (Johnson Lab) came to in his paper “Effects of functionally asexual reproduction on quantitative genetic variation in the evening primroses”, published in American Journal of Botany. Why organisms have sex at all is a conundrum that has puzzled biologist for over a century. An early hypothesis was that sex maintains genetic variation within populations, increasing the probability of survival for individuals born to sexual mothers compared to asexual mothers. Surprisingly, this hypothesis has been tested only in a small number of animal systems and with variable results, and it has never been examined in plants.

Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP): functional pleiotropy in the mammalian brain

8 Dec 2014 - 9:42am
Preserved brain in a jar

What should an MSc student do during their last week in UTM Biology? They should go out with a bang like Harrod Ling, who just published his first review! Harrod and his coauthors Lucia Mendoza-Vi (PhD candidate) and Neel Mehta (MSc candidate) (Cheng Lab), just published "Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP): functional pleiotropy in the mammalian brain" in Critical Reviews in Oncogenesis.

First record of plicidentine in Synapsida and patterns of tooth root shape change in Early Permian sphenacoodontians

2 Dec 2014 - 8:15am
Dimetrodon teeth

In science it is important to get at the root of the problem, and that is literally what PhD students Kirstin Brink and Aaron LeBlanc (Reisz Lab) did in their recent paper in Naturwissenschaften: “First record of plicidentine in Synapsida and patterns of tooth root shape change in Early Permian sphenacoodontians”. In this paper, they used histological thin sections to examine the shape of the tooth roots in different species of Dimetrodon, a Permian sail-backed synapsid. Dimetrodon was a geologically long-lived species (~20 million years) with few obvious changes in morphology throughout its evolutionary history.

Identification, characterization and expression of a receptor for the unusual mysosuppressin in the blood-feeding bug Rhodnius prolixus

26 Nov 2014 - 8:23am
Rhodnius prolixus

Oh my, my oh, oh my, I feel my-oh-suppressed. Or I might feel that way if I had the same myosuppressin just discovered in the kissing bug. Former PhD student DoHee Lee and former NSERC USRA Tyler James (Lange Lab) recently published “Identification, characterization and expression of a receptor for the unusual mysosuppressin in the blood-feeding bug Rhodnius prolixus” in Insect Molecular Biology. Do Hee and Tyler recently characterized the gene for the receptor of an unusual peptide in Rhodnius prolixus.

The Proteomic Landscape of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Clock Reveals Large-Scale Coordination of Key Biological Processes

17 Nov 2014 - 9:17am
white mouse within a graphic representation of a 24 hour clock

Do you know what time it is? I have no idea either, but proteins in the Cheng Lab can tell you the time every 8, 12 and 24 hours! Recent MSc graduate Neel Mehta, NSERC USRA/BIO481 Abhilasha Patel and former PDF Peng Zhang (Cheng Lab) collaborated with scientists at U Ottawa in their recent paper “The Proteomic Landscape of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Clock Reveals Large-Scale Coordination of Key Biological Processes” in PLoS Genetics. Using quantitative mass spectrometry, they interrogated the proteome of the mouse Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN - the central pacemaker that generates 24h rhythms) across the day-night cycle. They found that the expression of many proteins in the SCN is time-of-day-dependent but not necessarily circadian (i.e.

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