Two basic steps in the investigation of normal development are the identification of regulatory genes and the characterisation c their expression patterns, the latter being are a prerequisite for functional studies. Expression pattern of related genes in different vertebrate species have proven predictable power for other vertebrate species, including man, where gene expression analyses are not easily feasible. We propose to use Xenopus embryo as a vertebrate model system to systematically study gene expression. Our objectives are
? to carry out a molecular screen by in situ hybridisation in Xenopus embryos. documenting and characterizing the expression c 10 000 embryonal expressed mRNAs
? to tag sequence the corresponding cDNAs to match expression patterns to genes and identify genes wlth a potential function i growth control and differentiation
? to establish a Xenopus embryonic gene expression database and install it on the Internet
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The completion of this research project will train me in various fields. I will gain a general knowledge about development biology problematics and methods: anatomy, concepts on developmental processes... I count on having a more specific knowledge of the Xenopus model and of gene patterning in embryos. I expect that the analysis of the gene patterns will give new and important clues to understand some processes of normal development, in particular mesoderm regionalisation. The us of a vertebrate model of development is of particular interest due to its validity for human development, normal or pathologic The construction and management of the database will give me the opportunity to interact with bioinformatics scientists, and with researchers engaged in similar projects in other organisms (mouse, zebrafish...).
On the whole, my expected training should give me the possibility thereafter to do developmental biology, and to be able tS investigate the functions of genes during vertebrate embryogenesis, including human. I expect to better control bioinformatric to manage and interpret biological data. Given the exponential accumulation of data this should give me the opportunity thereafter to address biological problems using multidisciplinary approaches where bioinformatics, developmental biology, comparative analysis and genome approach play a role.