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Exploiting natural and induced genetic variation to study hematopoiesis

07 September 2011

PhD ceremony: Ms. A. Gerrits, 16.15 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Exploiting natural and induced genetic variation to study hematopoiesis

Promotor(s): prof. G. de Haan

Faculty: Medical Sciences


Blood cell formation can be studied by making use of natural genetic variation across mouse strains. There are, for example, two mouse strains that do not only differ in fur color, but also in average life span and more specifically in the number of blood-forming stem cells in their bone marrow. The cause of these differences can be found in the DNA of these mice. This DNA differs slightly between the two mouse strains, making some genes in one strain just a bit more or less active compared to those same genes in the other strain. The aim of part I of this thesis was to study the influence of genetic variation on gene expression and how this might explain the specific characteristics of the mouse strains. One of the findings in this study was that the influence of genetic variation on gene expression is strongly cell-type-dependent.

Additionally, blood cell formation can be studied by introducing genetic variation into the system. In part II of this thesis genetic variation was introduced into mouse blood-forming stem cells by letting random DNA sequences or “barcodes” integrate into the DNA of these cells. Thereby, these cells were provided with a unique and identifiable label that was heritable from mother- to daughter cell. In this manner the fate of blood-forming stem cells and their progeny could be tracked following transplantation in mice. This technique is very promising for monitoring blood cell formation in future clinical gene therapy studies in humans. 


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.40 p.m.

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