Department of Biology

Renn Lab

Student Project Ideas

(check back often as new ideas will be added)

These pages include scientific ideas that supplement my own research interests. I provide a short summary and a few references but students are encouraged to propose independent ideas.

  1. Genetic Basis for Maternal Behavior in A. burtoni * (several projects)
  2. Natural vs. Environmental Sex-Role Reversal among Julidochromis species * (several projects)
  3. Identification of Rapidly Evolving Cichlid Genes with hCGH *
  4. Proof of Principle for hCGH using Drosophila melanogaster (related to project 3)
  5. Sex Determination in African Cichlids
  6. Data Imputation with cDNA Microarray Data
  7. Assortitive Mating by Cichlid Populations
  8. Blue fish / Yellow fish
  9. Bioinformatics (several projects available)
  10. Genomic Resources for Cichlids - complete 2006 Robby Kunkle

(* indicates ongoing projects that are a main focus in our research)


Student Project Idea 5

Sex Determination in African Cichlids

For many species, the sex of an individual is genetically determined by the presence of an X or a Y chromosome (or a Z W system as in birds). However, in other species the sex of an individual is environmentally determined by factors such as temperature. Despite considerable research the mechanism for sex determination in African cichlids remains a persistant question. Genetic loci appear to play an important role, however some strains exhibit an XY system while others exhibit a ZW system and in both cases environmental factors can override the genetic factors. To complicate matters further, reports suggest that the social environment may also play a role in sex determination during a critical stage of development. By altering the environment we hope to identify the mechanisms by which genes and environment interact to influence sex determination in African Cichlids.



Aspects of the Project:

Raising fish in isolation.

Monitoring growth rate of individuals.

Manipulating social and physical environment.

Measuring gene expression of brain and/or gonads during critical stages.