Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type


First Advisor



Many doors were opened for the field of genetics by the discovery of dsRNA-mediated gene silencing, also known as RNA interference (RNAi). This potent scientific tool has led to many great discoveries and holds much potential for improving the world. Thus, given the importance of RNAi, much work is being done to better understand it. In our laboratory, we have discovered a spontaneous mutant that is resistant to the effects of acs-1 (RNAi) in a subset of tissues in C. elegans, the strain has been dubbed partially RNAi resistant (Prr). I have genetically mapped the mutation in this strain and characterized its mutant effect. The genetic evidence thus far suggest that this mutation defines a gene encoding a wellconserved cyclophilin protein called SIG-7 that may play a role in transgene silencing through RNA binding. It was also determined that the Prr phenotype is most likely due to a general somatic gonad-specific RNAi resistance and not a resistance related solely to the acs-1 gene. Further investigation of this strain has potential to reveal a novel RNAi mechanism in C. elegans that is likely conserved in humans as well.