Second blog post from James Meyo
It is great to be writing to you all once again. Many weeks have passed since my last posting and a lot of progress has been made in lab. Our lab team took a short break before the end of the summer and I got to have some time to settle into my new housing and plan ahead for the school year. Since I stayed back for the short break, I volunteered to take care of the fish and spent a lot of time ensuring the fry were healthy. I also did some breeding to get embryos and prevent the fish from getting egg bound.
Earlier this summer, we had had a difficult time trying to breed the Cloche mutants, which are zebrafish with a deletion mutation that affects their production of endothelial and blood cells. Homozygous Cloche mutants have a low blood count and lack the endothelial lining in the heart. About a week ago, we were successfully able to breed the Cloche fish and have been able to raise their larvae. Unlike the wildtype, cloche mutant larvae can be very deceiving when checking for viability. We generally use mobility as our primary means of checking for larvae viability and although most of the cloche larvae can swim easily, a few larvae may at times seem lethargic or unhealthy. It took a few days to realize that these larvae were actually fine and just liked to play dead. I find it impressive that for larvae that did not seem as healthy initially; the total number of fry has been relatively stable over the past few days. I have also spent a lot of time working on the other larvae and they have been doing pretty well. It is a very rewarding feeling to have a visual confirmation that the effort we put into rearing the larvae is really paying off.
A lot of students have been flocking back to campus the past couple of days and everyone is getting ready for the academic calendar. I am really excited because I am taking a developmental biology class with Prof. Williams this fall and we shall get to use some zebrafish embryos in lab. I also really look forward to learning more about early development in different organisms and expect this knowledge to be very beneficial for my senior year thesis this academic calendar. The class is an awesome size with slightly over 10 students, thus Prof. Williams will easily be able to cater to all the students. I also expect to build strong bonds with my classmates due to the small size and since most of them are either biochemistry or biology majors.
It has been great keeping you updated. Stay tuned as the school year begins.