In my Erasmus exchange time, between February and July 2011, I was doing a BSc thesis on the genetic variation in C. elegans. Together with another student – Irina Ćalić – we tried to find loci, that underlie phenotypic plasticity.
This phenomenon is important to examine because it is an evidence of organisms’ ability to adapt to environmental changes. We applied QTL mapping as a method for finding genes that may contribute to plastic responses of complex traits. This method demanded the construction of Recombinant Inbred Lines, and testing them in environmental conditions (in our case – heat-shock survival experiment). Data obtained from that was connected with genotyping (polymorphic markers used) in a statistical analysis.
I have chosen this research subject, because I wanted to see how theoretical, genetic knowledge is applied in experiments and to gain laboratory experience. With help of my supervisors: Jan Kammenga, Joost Riksen, Basten Snoek, and other people from the Laboratory of Nematology, it was an enjoyable thing. Since everyone is very helpful, friendly and open minded there, I could really feel like a member of the research group and I experienced a great time.