Genetic Characterization of Diploid and Polyploid Populations of Lumbriculus

Name of Award

Spring 2018 3M Faculty/Student Collaborative Grant

Date Awarded

Spring 5-14-2018



Project Description

Dr. Kathleen (Kay) Tweeten, Professor of Biology, and Ngozika Ezenagu, a student researcher, are awarded $2,000 from the 3M Small Scale Grant program to compare the genetic variation in diploid and polyploid populations of Lumbriculus, also known as blackworms. Until recently, little progress has been made in resolving the classification of worm population belonging to the genus of Lumbriculus. Externally these worms are morphologically similar and identifying species of Lumbriculus has been difficult. The results of this research will determine if the diploid and polyploid populations, referring to the number of complete sets of chromosomes, should be classified as distinct species. The research will be conducted on a population that has already been characterized using flow cytometry for DNA content and protein profiles. The project will use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify specific regions of the DNA that are useful in revealing evolutionary differences between living organisms. The genetic analysis will provide an alternative approach to exploring similarities and differences in diploid and polyploid populations.

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