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In our latest publication we report a methodological breakthrough for sponge science and experimental evolutionary research in general. In a collaboration with the groups of April Hil (Richmont University, USA), Dennis Lavrov (University of Iowa, Ames, USA) and Gert Wörheide (LMU, München, Germany), we demonstrated the actin gene knockdown by RNAi in two upcoming model demosponge species: our 'pet', the marine species Tethya wilhelma (which was described 10 years ago - Happy birthday T.w. ) as well as the freshwater species Ephydatia muelleri. Knockdown of the genes was not an easy task. However, the 'classic' RNAi technique of feeding dsRNA expressing bacteria did the job. Our next targets will be genes involved in contractility (who would have guessed this after all our previous research ...)
More about the whole story in the original publication:
Rivera, A, Hammel, JU, Haen, KM, Danka, E, Cieniewicz, B, Winters, I, Posfai, Dora, Worheide, G, Lavrov, DV, Knight, S, Hill, M, Hill, A and Nickel, M (2011), "RNA interference in marine and freshwater sponges: actin knockdown in Tethya wilhelma and Ephydatia muelleri by ingested dsRNA expressing bacteria", BMC Biotechnology, 11, 1: 67.