Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Carlos Molina

Committee Member

Julian Keenan

Committee Member

Lisa Hazard


Zebra danio, Transgenes--Expression


Infertility is a public health issue that affects a large portion of the human population. According to epidemiological studies, 20% of couples worldwide were infertile in 2015 (Turchi, 2015). To understand how to treat infertility and other reproductive disorders in humans, first the mechanism in which vertebrate reproduction occurs must be investigated in a model organism. The zebrafish, Danio reiro is a popular model for reproductive studies (Hill, 2005). For this reason, a transgenic zebrafish was generated with a plasmid that carried 1823 bp of the aromatase (CYP19a) promoter and the Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP) gene. The EGFP gene was used as a reporter to map the expression of the aromatase promoter in the female zebrafish. This promoter originated from the aromatase enzyme that converts androgens to estrogen in the ovaries of most vertebrates. In our studies, two different western blots were performed to detect levels of green fluorescence in different organs and in follicles of different sizes. Our findings suggest that that the aromatase promoter is expressed in the granulosa cells that surround the ovarian follicles during the pre-vitellogenic (PV), earlyvitellogenic( EV) and mid-vitellogenic (MV) stages of folliculogenesis. This transgenic model could be used in future research to study proteins that are expressed at these specific stages of folliculogenesis and provide insight into their effects on ovulation.

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