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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Duluth
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

PI: Marshall E. Hampton
Co-PI: Matthew T. Andrews

Genetic Control of Heart Function in a Hibernating Mammal

Hibernation in mammals is an amazing phenomenon in which the core body temperature can drop below zero degrees C, and breathing and heartbeat can slow to a crawl. The ability to hibernate is also correlated with resistance to cellular and systemic injuries of many kinds, for example hypoxia, which makes the study of hibernation promising for medical applications.

These researchers are using the Roche 454 sequencing facility on the University’s St. Paul campus to generate transcriptomes of various tissues of the hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus, at several different times. They then use MSI’s software to assemble the resulting sequence reads and analyze them. The researchers’ focus is the function of the heart, although they are also investigating other aspects of gene expression and metabolism.