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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Jeff Elhai


Previous experimentation has produced evidence to support the idea that early pattern formation in a differentiating filament of the cyanobacterium Anabaena is dependent on the position of a cell in the cell cycle. To assess the correlation between cell cycle and the pattern of cell differentiation, the cells were first observed under the microscope as they progressed completely through the cell cycle in order to determine the position of each cell in the cycle. This information was analyzed to determine whether a pattern existed in the position of cells in the cell cycle along a filament. A second approach involved cloning the promoters from ftsZ, a gene activated during division in Anabaena, and hetR, a gene activated during cell differentiation in Anabaena, upstream of the gfp gene to place the expression of GFP under the control of either of these two promoters. This provides a fluorescent marker that allows us to easily identify the position of any cell in the process of division or differentiation. By observing the position of a cell in the cell cycle and the pattern of differentiation using molecular markers as well as microscopy techniques, it is possible to determine the relationship between these two processes. This project attempts to answer the question of what is responsible for patterned differentiation along a filament of Anabaena and has applications to pattern formation in higher organisms.