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Reproductive plasticity in the face of energetic stress

Like most (if not all) organisms, nematodes change their life history strategies in the face of stress. It's thought that the energetic demands of surviving the stress preclude energetic investment in reproduction--in other words, there's a tradeoff. We don't know for certain whether this is true, but we certainly see reduced investment in the reproductive system under stress. The regulation of the germ stem cell pool in C. elegans, is managed largely by the specialized distal tip cell (movie below)  that enwraps germ stem cells and tells them whether to divide or not. More germ stem cell divison is thought to lead (directly or indirectly) to more offspring. What are the genes that regulate reproductive investment and what controls their activity? We use Quantitative Genetics and Transcriptomics approaches to answer these questions.

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