Jenny Lanni, assistant professor of biology at Wheaton College, will present "Fish Tales: How the Zebrafish Grew its Long Fins."
"My research utilizes the zebrafish model system to explore the regulation of proportional growth in vertebrates. During normal development, growth is integrated such that relative sizes among structures and tissues are specified and maintained. My laboratory is studying a zebrafish mutant strain with fins that grow to over twice the normal length. This long-finned mutant is notable in that it maintains patterned overgrowth, distinct from the kind of aberrant proliferation seen in cancer and overgrowth disorders. As zebrafish share many of their genes with humans, we hope to use this mutant to identify conserved pathways that regulate growth in vertebrates. Zebrafish also possess the remarkable ability to regenerate their fins within two weeks of amputation. Thus, understanding the growth pathways that are activated in our mutant fish may lend insight into tissue regeneration."