Introduction- Post #1

Hello readers,

My name is Adryan Flores and I am a rising sophomore here at the College of William and Mary. I am doing research in Professor Heideman’s lab this summer under the Chappell Fellowship. My research has to do with the variation in reproductive strategies between wild and lab ┬ámice. As it turns out, there are specific photoperiodic effects as to when mice are reproductively active or inactive. Mice that exhibit this photoperiodicity are reproductively inactivated ┬áduring the winter months–when the days are shorter. This ability to turn off and on based on the length of the day is genetically inherited, and our lab maintains populations of mice selected for their photoperiodic response. The problem with the lab populations is that the mice in captivity are in drastically different environment than the mice in the wild. Lab mice have unlimited food, no predators, and a warm place to stay at all times. The genetic reaction to these conditions may serve detrimental as a means of using the mice as a model organism if it drastically changes the way that lab mice exhibit specific neuroendocrine pathway reactions compared to the wild. Therefore, I will catch wild-mice and compare them to our lab population by measuring the number of GnRH neurons in the brain. These neurons allow for the secretion of the reproductive hormone GnRH. Therefore, the quantity of neurons in the brain are indicative of reproductive state. The results will hopefully demonstrate the photoperiodic variation between lab mice and wild-caught mice.

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