Gene Copy Number and Phytoplankton

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Hello everyone! My name is Patricia Rodriguez-Matos. Currently I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in General Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. For this summer’s REU I will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Deana Erdner. We will be analyzing different phytoplankton’s rRNA gene copy number to see if there is any change in strains from each phytoplankton. Previous published work shows that there have been cases where strains of phytoplankton changes their gene copy number through different phases and we want to learn why is this happening. So far I have been growing two cultures, with four days of difference, of six different IMG_0075phytoplankton and running fluorescence test everyday on each one. This way I will to have different stages of the phytoplankton, and know how much the cultures are growing. I will be doing quantitative PCR for the cultures to know if the gene copy number of each phytoplankton is changing while being in different life stages.  If the gene number change we will keep investigating to try to find the reason for why this happens. I am really excited for this new experience and am looking forward to a great summer full of new things to learn everyday!

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