Friday, March 1, 2013


Today marks the first time I submitted a paper with a student! One of the students I am working with will be graduating at the end of the semester, so I asked her to write up a summary of her work, to submit to an undergraduate journal. Well, as of 2:57pm, it is submitted for consideration at the Berkeley Scientific Journal!

I am not familiar with the process of submitting to an undergraduate journal, and am very curious to see how it all works. The paper will still be peer-reviewed by two faculty members at Berkeley. Similar to traditional journals, it can be accepted, accepted with minor revision, accepted with major revision, or rejected. But, I am not sure what criteria they use to judge the submissions. The journal accepts papers from any scientific discipline, and also works under the assumption that the work is completed by undergraduates. 

Here are the title and abstract for our petite paper:

Evolution of the phosphatase gene family across nematode worms and flies 

Phosphatase genes have been shown to be involved in male meiosis in the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, and are expressed in the testis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. However, the evolution of this multi-gene family among nematodes and flies had not previously been investigated. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis of all genes in the phosphatase gene family across nematodes and flies using sequences from a 6-way alignment of nematode worms and a 15-way alignment of insects, including 12 Drosophila species. We found that: 1) multiple alignments contain spurious alignments that should be filtered for quality control; 2) several gene sequences with incomplete open reading frames are highly conserved, so may actually be functional genes; and, 3) the phosphatase gene family appears to have expanded independently in the common ancestor of worms, and again in the common ancestor of flies (but not all insects). 

Wish us luck!

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