Gene Expression Patterns in the Notochord of Ciona intestinalis

Student Author(s)

Matthew Harder

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Michael Veeman

Document Type


Event Date



The notochord is a hallmark organ of all chordates and plays key roles in early chordate development. The ascidian Ciona intestinalis is a useful model for studying notochord morphogenesis because it has a simple notochord of only 40 cells that can be visualized with subcellular detail in a single microscope image. RNA-seq studies in the Veeman lab have identified a large number of genes likely to be transcriptionally upregulated in the developing notochord. Here we report expression patterns by in situ hybridization for 20 of these putative notochord transcripts. 12/20 were confirmed to be strongly upregulated in the notochord, broadly validating the RNA-seq results. We identified 4 of these genes as being regionally expressed in the notochord, supporting our hypothesis that the notochord may contain functionally distinct cell identities.


This material is based upon work supported by the NSF under grant No. 1156571.

This document is currently not available here.