Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. April Hill


Sponges can be viewed as a remnant branch of the earliest successful experiments in metazoan multi-cellularity. As such, these organisms hold many clues into the genetic elements fundamental to the formation of complex animalian life. Two of these elements are the transcription factor encoding genes PaxB and Six1/2. Homologs of these genes in animals more complex than sponges have been shown to be members of a gene regulatory network involved in organ development. This is of particular intrigue since sponges do not possess such organ systems. Here, I discuss the putative function of PaxB and Six1/2 in sponges, and whether the Pax-Six regulatory network is present in these ancestrally derived metazoans.

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Biology Commons