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John W La Claire II

Professor Emeritus
Molecular Biosciences

Research Summary:

We use marine and freshwater algal cells as model systems for studying basic cell and molecular biological questions. Most recently, we have been investigating the molecular genetic basis for harmful blooms of the golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) that have been causing massive fish kills in Texas and around the globe. Using DNA microarray technology, research is aimed at discovering which genes and metabolic pathways are associated with bloom formation and decline, and with levels of toxicity. In this way, molecular biomarkers can be identified for characterizing the metabolic status of this alga using field-collected samples. Also, real-time PCR assays have been developed for DNA-based detection and quantification of this organism, providing the basis for a statewide survey of all major watersheds. Lastly, we are analyzing the ichthyotoxins themselves to determine the internal and external signals that lead to their biosynthesis.

BIO 324/124L Survey of the Plant Kingdom (& Laboratory)

BIO 322/122L Anatomy, Physiology and Reproduction in Seed Plants (& Laboratory)

BIO 327/388J/127L/188K General Phycology (& Laboratory)