Social phenotype transition and transgenesis of the haplochromine cichlid, Astatotilapia burtoni


October 15, 2014 - 1:00pm
NW 243
About the Speaker
Caroline Hu (Hoekstra Lab)

Animals display remarkable range in social behavior, despite high conservation of many neurochemicals and their receptors. Even within a species, the social behavior of an individual can vary dramatically depending on environmental and internal cues. What neural mechanisms participate in this flexibility? I pursued this question for my doctoral work with Russell Fernald at Stanford University. To investigate the neural basis of behavioral plasticity within a species, I used the African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, in which adult males can reversibly transition between two strikingly different social phenotypes. I will present 1) my identification of neural populations specifically activated during social phenotype transition and 2) the story of achieving transgenesis in a non-traditional model organism.