BSc Thesis Topic: DNA barcode-based tools to detect & monitor (parasitic) nematodes

Nematodes are extremely abundant and speciose group of animals, and – although parasitic nematodes receive a lot of attention – these ‘bad guys’ usually constitute only a small minority.

Nematodes have a conserved morphology (they very much look alike), and identification under a microscope is possible but requires substantial training, and is invariably time consuming. As an alternative, DNA characteristics can be used to characterize nematodes. Within our lab we’ve generated a large database that contains small subunit ribosomal DNA sequences from appr. 2,000 nematode genotypes. Within this BSc project you will design your own PCR primers, test their specificity in the lab, generate calibration lines for quantification, and – as a next step – test your novel assay under field conditions. 

Determining the specificity of small subunit ribosomal DNA based primers, by use of Q-PCR/Picture: Paul Mooyman
Determining the specificity of small subunit ribosomal DNA based primers, by use of Q-PCR/Picture: Paul Mooyman