Micronuclear Decryption Operations in Ciliates

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Marion Scheepers


Ciliates are an ancient group of single cell organisms which make up the phylum Ciliophora. This phylum is distinguished by the presence of two types of nuclei per cell: a micronucleus that is an encrypted version of the macronucleus. Cell mating involves the exchange of a haploid copy of the micronucleus between the two mating cells, and the formation of a new micronucleus. This event is followed by each of the two cells discarding their prior micro- and macro- nuclei while duplicating the new micronucleus and decrypting one of these duplicates to create a new macronucleus. Decryption of the micronucleus involves operations of swapping, reversing or merging sections of DNA. In this talk we will focus on these operations as taking place on a group, highlighting swaps and reversals. I will provide a bit of the motivation behind this project, briefly discuss the work I have done in relation to this project, as well as some of the work done prior to my involvement. I will conclude with some of the unanswered questions.

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