Can Technology X successfully target and manipulate dopaminergic neurons within the zebra finch?

George Romero

Mentors: Jiaxuan Qi, Richard Mooney, Ph.D.

Department of Neurobiology – Duke University School of Medicine

Previously studied neurons and cell types within the brain have been characterized using methods that are considerably slow, inefficient, and expensive. To present, there lacks a cell type targeting technology that is both widely accessible and efficient. Technology X is a novel RNA-based cell type targeting technology that can target and manipulate specific cell types within the brain. In vivo functionality of Technology X has not been completely confirmed and is under testing across multiple cell types and between different model organisms. We tested the hypothesis that Technology X will successfully target and express within dopaminergic neurons of the zebra finch. Technology X, tagged with the green fluorescent protein (GFP) indicator, was virally injected into the VTA and SNc (regions densely populated with dopaminergic neurons) of the zebra finch. In our results, we plan to see widespread and exclusive expression of GFP within the dopaminergic cells of the VTA and SNc when viewed under confocal microscopy. This would corroborate that Technology X is capable of successfully targeting and manipulating specific cell types within the brain.

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