Dr. Elaine Seaver has New Paper in Developmental Biology

Dr. Elaine Seaver has New Paper in Developmental Biology

Published: Friday, September 27, 2019

Animals use their eyes to detect light. How do eyes develop? Are there similarities in how eyes develop in different animals?  The Seaver lab recently published a paper investigating for the first time the role of a gene called pax6 in eye development in the marine worm Capitella teleta. They showed that the pax6 gene is expressed in the developing larval eye of Capitella.

When Dr. Marleen Klann, the lead author on the study, interfered with the function of the pax6 gene, MOST of the resulting larvae lacked eyes. These larvae also showed abnormalities in their nervous system. The results from this study demonstrate a role for the pax6 gene in Capitella eye development which is consistent with a role for this gene in eye development across many animals with very diverse eye types, including human BEINGS. The results from this paper are also important because the technique used to interfere with the function of the pax6 gene was pioneered in Capitella for this study, and involves the use of short oligonucleotides called morpholinos, which interfere with either translation of a messenger RNA into a protein or in splicing of introns to produce a mature mRNA. This technique can now be applied to study the function of any gene in Capitella.

Full Paper

Photo: The image shows a Capitella teleta larva. The eyes are visible by their rust-colored pigment. Anterior is to the left.