Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Kevin Kuehn

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Karenia brevis is a marine dinoflagellate responsible for the harmful algal blooms (also known as red tides) in the Gulf of Mexico. K. brevis expresses antisense (AS) RNAs, each of which has a complementary region to the messenger RNA (mRNA) of a variety of genes. In dinoflagellates, many plastid (and mitochondrial) genes have migrated to the nuclear genome. It is unknown whether chloroplast genes, such as photosystem – D2, have migrated in K. brevis. It is also unknown where the gene that expresses the AS RNA for photosystem D2 resides. The protein-coding gene and the AS RNA-expressing gene could both reside in the chloroplast, both in the nucleus, or in some split combination between the two genomes. Primers designed from photosystem D2 ESTs were used in a series of RACE reactions to capture the unique regions of both photosystem – D2 AS RNA and mRNA. Gel imaging showed a distinct band for the unique 5’ end of the mRNA. Sequencing of this band will allow for the design of a probe to determine which genome houses the photosystem – D2 mRNA. This work can be furthered to compile known locations for both the mRNA and AS RNA of both chloroplast and mitochondrial genes of K. brevis.